I listen to NPR's Morning Edition most days of the week and yesterday was no exception. Typically on Fridays, the program airs a story from its StoryCorps project, a massive oral history project in which the goal is to record the stories of American lives. StoryCorps just breaks me up most of the time; I fully expect to be brought to tears after hearing the featured story on Fridays and I'm usually prepared for it, but yesterday they caught me off guard because 1. it was Thursday not Friday, and 2. it was a particularly heart wrenching story from Beverly Eckert who lost her husband in one of the towers of the World Trade Center on 9/11/2001. Here I am getting ready for work practically bawling my eyes out as Eckert recounts the last phone conversation with her husband as he attempted to find a way out of the towers and eventually resigned himself to his fate. It was truly moving and sad and horrifying and beautiful all at once. It was also a reminder of the terror of that day and how it changed so many people's lives.
After the story was played, it was revealed that Eckert herself was killed in a plane crash, Colgan Air Flight 3407, in February of 2009. Turns out she had been a particularly vocal advocate for 9/11 victims and the search for truth and understanding of the tragedy. Rather than apply for compensation through the 9/11 fund, she sued government agencies and airlines for what she believed to be a significant security breach that was neither prevented or realized soon enough. She helped to found Voices of September 11th, an organization devoted to providing information and support to 9/11 families, influencing policy on 9/11 and terrorism generally, and commemorating 9/11 victims and family members by documenting their stories, and the 9/11 Family Steering Committee, a now defunct organization that called for an independent investigation of the 9/11 attacks.
In this time after Osama bin Laden's death, many are remembering 9/11 and the effect it had on our nation. While tragedies like Eckert's are abundant, it is also important to remember the time of national unity we experienced after the attacks. Much like Eckert wanted her former husband's death to have not been in vain, let's not allow bin Laden's death be in vain either by taking this opportunity to unite.
NEWS & ARTICLES
Beverly Eckert Biography and Related News Articles
From the New York Times, which did you know you could read for free via our Factiva database? Access it from home with your library card. Need help? Ask a Librarian!
Beverly Eckert's StoryCorps Audio Recording
Unless you are made of stone, you should have a box of tissues handy.
I really wanted to find out if Eckert's lawsuit is now defunct or what. I had a very difficult time locating this info and I think I would need access to one of LexisNexis' databases to figure it out. I attempted to search PACER, Public Access to Court Electronic Records, but you must wait for a user name and password to arrive via postal mail to even be able to use it!
Woman Rejects Sept. 11 Fund, Sues for Accountability
An NPR interview with Eckert about the lawsuit and her decision to reject the 9/11 fund.
DATABASES (i.e. stuff you can't find via Google)
Authoritative info on Eckert can be difficult to come by - check out our databases for ample news stories not available on the free internet. Factiva and MasterFILE Premier would be two great places to start for newspaper articles from tons of national and international newspapers (Factiva) and magazine articles (MasterFILE). All you need is your library card!
The 9/11 Report: A Graphic Adaptation by Sid Jacobson
The report is much more palatable in comic format (but isn't everything?).
American Widow by Alissa Torres
A graphic novel about Torres's husband's death in the WTC attacks and the year after it in which their child was born.
Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Foer
The story of a precocious young boy that lost his father on 9/11 exploring New York City looking for the lock to a key his dad left behind.