Daily Archives: February 13, 2009

Remembering Beverly Eckert: 9/11 Widow and American Patriot

FAREWELL, BEVERLY

It is with great sadness that I report the following news to our readers: we just learned that Beverly Eckert, widow of the late Sean Rooney (who died in the WTC on 9/11) was one of the victims in the Continental Airlines commuter plane crash in Buffalo. Flight 3407 mysteriously fell out of the sky at around 10:20 p.m. last night and crashed into a private home, killing all 47 persons on board and one person on the ground.

This news just breaks my heart. Although I never had the chance to meet her personally, I exchanged several emails with Beverly over the years in regards to her outstanding work as a victims’ advocate, and as a leader for the 9/11 widows who continued to seek answers from the government as to what REALLY happened to their loved ones on that horrible day. I had tremendous respect and admiration for the lady and her work, and of course, just naturally assumed that our paths would eventually cross one of these days. Unfortunately, that will not happen now.

Beverly Eckert was a key member of the now-defunct 9/11 Family Steering Committee, an offshoot of the Coalition for an Independent 9/11 Commission, which advocated the creation of an independent commission to investigate the intelligence failures that made 9/11 possible. The coalition represented a wide array of 9/11 families’ organizations, including Families of September 11, Sept. 11 Advocates (also known as “The Jersey Girls”), and Voices of September 11. Although the call for a commission was initially resisted by the Bush Administration, the coalition eventually prevailed in the creation of the 9/11 Commission.

Beverly cooperated with and monitored the 9/11 Commission, but later criticized the commission’s final report, claiming that commission members had only selective memories of all the evidence they had been presented. She also later complained publicly that many of the protective measures recommended by the 9/11 Commission were never implemented.

In 2006, Beverly was prominently featured in the 9/11 documentary film, On Native Soil, a must-see for anyone interested in learning the facts of that fateful day in our history.

Most recently, Beverly joined forces with the ACLU in December 2008 to challenge the legitimacy of the Guantánamo military commissions and their ability to achieve justice.

A week before her death, Eckert met with President Obama at the White House as part of a group of 9/11 families and relatives of those killed in the bombing of the USS Cole, discussing how the new administration would handle terror suspects.

Beverly Eckert, left, of Stamford, Conn., Valerie Barbella, center, and James Barbella, right hold up signs during a rally regarding the search for human remains at the World Trade Center site Thursday, Nov. 2, 2006 in New York. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II) From AP Photo by Frank Franklin II.

Beverly was not only a sweet lady who gave so much of her time, money and effort to this cause, she was also tremendously dedicated to her late husband’s memory, and to seeking justice for ALL 9/11 victims and their families. She has spent nearly every day of her life since 9/11/2001 in pursuit of the truth and government accountability.

Feb. 12, 2009 was no different for Beverly. Late yesterday evening when she hurriedly boarded the last flight out of Newark in inclement weather, she was on her way to Buffalo to present a Sean Rooney scholarship at his former high school (Rooney was a Buffalo native) which had been established in her late husband’s memory. To further compound the tragic irony, this weekend would have marked her late husband’s 58th birthday, and she was planning to mark the occasion with his friends and family in the city of Buffalo.

It’s sad and certainly strange enough that the woman who fought such a long and tireless battle for truth and justice for all victims killed in the fiery plane crashes of September 11, 2001 would meet her own fate in another fiery plane crash. That in itself I can barely comprehend. But when I think of where Beverly was headed, going back to Sean’s hometown on his birthday to give a scholarship in his name, my brain locks up and my heart sinks into the pit of my stomach.

Dammit, it’s just not fair, I tell `ya. It’s not fair.

If, as they say, there ain’t no justice in this world and we’ll have to wait until we reach the next world for that, I suppose the only real consolation is that Sean and Beverly are finally together again now.

Beverly and Sean were high-school sweethearts. Their marriage lasted for 34 years, until his death on September 11, 2001.

Beverly and Sean were high-school sweethearts. Their marriage lasted for 34 years, until his death on September 11, 2001.

Sadly, 8 1/2 years after the Sept. 11 tragedy, so many of the 9/11 commission’s recommendations have still not been implemented. So much of Beverly’s tireless effort was never fully and officcially recognized, except by those within the 9/11 Truth activist community, who saw her as one of their heroes.

Beverly Eckert was not a 9/11 Truther. She was not a conspiracy nut. She never wore a tinfoil hat or stood on a streetcorner with a bullhorn yelling, “9/11 Was An Inside Job!” She was a respectable insurance professional who lived a quiet, unassuming life with her beloved husband in Stamford, CT until 9/11 changed everything. She felt compelled to speak up and demand a REAL investigation and JUSTICE, as any reasonable, concerned American should. She always spoke eloquently and truthfully, never showing any flashes of temper, but plenty of righteous anger. She was a woman of great courage and many of us will dearly miss her energy and leadership.

But we must press on. We must move forward in our search for the truth. We must honor her by continuing to demand real answers and accountability from our government officials. If it was in fact an inside job, we must chase down the real terrorists who did this dastardly deed and prosecute them to the fullest extent of the law. We must do all that we can to ensure that it NEVER happens again. That’s all Beverly was saying: that the most patriotic thing we as Americans can do is to raise legitimate questions and expect honest answers.

Summing up Beverly’s mission in life these past eight years is an extremely difficult task upon learning of her death first thing early this morning. I can’t even comprehend it yet, let alone begin to process it. Words elude me.

But while I was reflecting on the meaning of Beverly’s life and her ironic, tragic death, the words of President Theodore Roosevelt suddenly popped into my mind. This particular quote from T.R. seemed to me a perfect way to describe what motivated Beverly to do what she did — and the lasting contribution she made to our understanding of what really happened on 9/11. It also reminds us to keep seeking the truth, and to never give up the fight for justice, despite forces who seek to oppose and silence us:

“Patriotism means to stand by the country. It does NOT mean to stand by the President or any other public official save exactly to the degree in which he himself stands by the country. It is patriotic to support him insofar as he efficiently serves the country. It is unpatriotic not to oppose him to the exact extent that by inefficiency or otherwise he fails in his duty to stand by the country.”

– Teddy Roosevelt
26th President of the United States

But I’ll give Beverly the last word.

In a 2006 interview with the BBC, Beverly related the heartwrenching story of her husband’s final moments on September 11, which she unfortunately “ear-witnessed” over the phone. After the South Tower was hit by a plane, Sean tried to escape but became trapped on the 105th floor. Once he realized that he probably was not going to make it out alive, he called his wife and they began to say their goodbyes to one another.

“We were just remembering how happy we were. I just wanted to crawl through the phone and hold him but then there was an explosion (emphasis mine – Ed.), followed by a loud crack and a sound like an avalanche. That was the tower coming down. He was gone.

I try not to look at what I lost but what I had. We had 34 very good years together – we were together since we 16 – and there are not many people who have had that.

I felt that the best way to honour his memory and the life we lived was to live a good life, to be strong and to inspire people.

I can tell Sean’s story so that people understand his bravery in the face of death. Sean died without regrets and that helps me get through the day. “

Beverly Eckert lived and died without regrets. Her courage and strength will continue to inspire and motivate us all for decades, perhaps even centuries, to come. It is my hope and indeed a fervent prayer that one day in the distant future, after the haze of emotionalism has cleared, her name will go down in the annals of history as one who dared to take a stand against the incompetence which resulted in the preventable loss of nearly 3,000 innocent lives on 9/11.

Farewell and God Bless You, Beverly!

– Tiger Haynes

Editor

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