I would not presume to know exactly how Beverly Eckert would have reacted to the news that Osama bin Laden had been killed. But I do know she would have wholeheartedly endorsed the sentiments of Barack Obama regarding how America should resp0nd in the wake of 9/11. David Remnick, who has written a book about the early years of the president’s life, unearthed a telling quote from Obama shortly after the terrible attacks on our country. Here it is, from his piece in the NewYorker.
The essence of this tragedy, [wrote Obama, in the Hyde Park Herald] it seems to me, derives from a fundamental absence of empathy on the part of the attackers: an inability to imagine, or connect with, the humanity and suffering of others.
Such a failure of empathy, such numbness to the pain of a child or the desperation of a parent, is not innate; nor, history tells us, is it unique to a particular culture, religion, or ethnicity….
We will have to make sure, despite our rage, that any U.S. military action takes into account the lives of innocent civilians abroad. We will have to be unwavering in opposing bigotry or discrimination directed against neighbors and friends of Middle Eastern descent. Finally, we will have to devote far more attention to the monumental task of raising the hopes of embittered children across the globe—children not just in the Middle East, but also in Africa, Asia, Latin American, Eastern Europe, and within our own shores.
These are sentiments which I’m sure Beverly would have espoused, as her various activities post-9/11 illustrated. Each day, she had been striving to create peaceful tomorrows.