News / USA

Kerry Meets Family of Slain US Diplomat

Kerry Meets Family of Slain US Diplomati
X
April 16, 2013 11:42 AM
Two weeks before she was killed in Afghanistan, diplomat Anne Smedinghoff escorted Secretary of State John Kerry during his visit to the country. On Monday, Kerry stopped in Chicago to visit with the parents of 25-year-old Anne Smedinghoff, who was assigned to the U.S. Embassy in Kabul. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports that as Secretary Kerry met with her parents and siblings AT O'Hare Airport, her hometown continued to mourn her loss.

Kerry Meets Family of Slain US Diplomat

Kane Farabaugh
Two weeks before she was killed in Afghanistan, diplomat Anne Smedinghoff escorted Secretary of State John Kerry during his visit to the country.  On Monday, Kerry stopped in Chicago to visit with the parents of  Smedinghoff, 25, who was assigned to the U.S. Embassy in Kabul.  As Secretary Kerry met with her parents and siblings at O'Hare Airport, her hometown continued to mourn her loss.

At Fenwick High School in suburban Chicago, Associate Principal Richard Borsch remembers that former student Anne Smedinghoff was destined for public service, reflected in a college recommendation by one her teachers.

American diplomat Anne Smedinghoff, in an undated photo.American diplomat Anne Smedinghoff, in an undated photo.
x
American diplomat Anne Smedinghoff, in an undated photo.
American diplomat Anne Smedinghoff, in an undated photo.
The last two lines of one his recommendations said, [if] 'She will be as active and involved as she was at Fenwick on your campus, please give this future public servant every possible consideration.'  That’s when she was 17," Borsch noted.

Just eight years later her promising career as a diplomat was cut short by an apparent suicide bomber, and the loss has brought the war in Afghanistan home to Fenwick High School.

 “I think whatever people consider of our foreign involvement, it’s a bit of an abstraction until its one of your own students, one of your own graduates, one of your own community," Borsch said, "and then it’s brought home with great emotional impact.”

That emotional impact has brought the community of River Forest, Illinois - Smedinghoff’s hometown together.

As word of her death spread, neighbors and church leaders quickly organized a drive to place white ribbons and flags throughout the community to honor Smedinghoff.

The response exceeded Margaret Brown’s expectations.

 “I had bought 500 flags, and by 4:30 pm or 5:00 pm we had already gone through those first 500 flags,” Brown said.

“On my way home, all the way through the Oak Park area, through River Forest, all the way to the community I live in, white ribbons all along the route.  Pretty impressive,” remarked Borsch.

Local churches passed out the flags and ribbons to people who donated books in Anne’s memory.  The blast that took her life occurred while visiting an Afghan school to distribute textbooks.

"She was there as a peace builder, and living internationally in a dangerous place, " Brown said, "but she was all about having good relationships with the Afghan people and especially the children.”

Father Richard Peddicord, the President of Fenwick High School, a Catholic institution, led a memorial mass at the school for Anne Smedinghoff.

He said that while a guiding light in the local community has now been extinguished, she did not die in vain.

 “Whether it could be Afghanistan, it could be anywhere, that doing the right thing, helping people, bringing textbooks to kids that need them, regardless of the overall political or historical context, is a good thing,” he said.

The secretary of state called Anne Smedinghoff "full of idealism and...hope," just as she will be remembered here at Fenwick High School.

You May Like

IS Militants Release 49 Turkish Hostages

Turkey's state-run Anadolu news agency reports that no ransom was paid and no conditions accepted for the hostages' release; few details of the release are known More

Photogallery IS Attacks Send Thousands of Syrian Kurds Fleeing to Turkey

Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says more than 300 Kurdish fighters crossed into Syria from Turkey to defend a Kurdish area from attack by the Islamic militants More

Sierra Leone's Ebola Lockdown Continues

Thousands of health workers are going door to door in the West African country of 6 million, informing people of how to avoid Ebola, handing out soap More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Migrants Caught in No-Man's Land Called Calaisi
X
Lisa Bryant
September 19, 2014 5:04 PM
The deaths of hundreds of migrants in the Mediterranean this week has only recast the spotlight on the perils of reaching Europe. And for those forunate enough to reach a place like Calais, France, only find that their problems aren't over. Lisa Bryant has the story.
Video

Video Migrants Caught in No-Man's Land Called Calais

The deaths of hundreds of migrants in the Mediterranean this week has only recast the spotlight on the perils of reaching Europe. And for those forunate enough to reach a place like Calais, France, only find that their problems aren't over. Lisa Bryant has the story.
Video

Video Westgate Siege Anniversary Brings Back Painful Memories

One year after it happened, the survivors of the terror attack on Nairobi's Westgate Shopping Mall still cannot shake the images of that tragic incident. For VOA, Mohammed Yusuf tells the story of victims still waiting for the answer to the question 'how could this happen?'
Video

Video Militant Assault in Syria Displaces Thousands of Kurds

A major assault by Islamic State militants on Kurds in Syria has sent a wave of new refugees to the Turkish border, where they were stopped by Turkish border security. Turkey is already hosting about 700,000 Syrian refugees who fled the civil war between the government and the opposition. But the government in Ankara has a history of strained relations with Turkey's Kurdish minority. Zlatica Hoke reports Turkey is asking for international help.
Video

Video CERN Accelerator Back in Business

The long upgrade of the Large Hadron Collider is over. The scientific instrument responsible for the discovery of the Higgs boson -- the so-called "God particle" -- is being brought up to speed in time for this month's 60th anniversary of the European Organization for Nuclear Research, known by its French acronym CERN. Physicists hope the accelerator will help them uncover more secrets about the origins of the universe. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Whaling Summit Votes to Uphold Ban on Japan Whale Hunt

The International Whaling Commission, meeting in Slovenia, has voted to uphold a court ruling banning Japan from hunting whales in the Antarctic Ocean. Conservationists hailed the ruling as a victory, but Tokyo says it will submit revised plans for a whale hunt in 2015. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Russian Economy Reeling After New Western Sanctions

A new wave of Western sanctions is hitting Russia’s economy hard. State-owned energy firms continue to bleed profits and Russia’s national currency plunged to a new low this week after the U.S. and the European Union announced new sanctions to punish Russia's aggressive stance in eastern Ukraine. But as Mil Arcega reports, the sanctions could also prove costly for European and American companies.
Video

Video Belgian Researchers Discover Way to Block Cancer Metastasis

Cancer remains one of the deadliest diseases, despite many new methods to combat it. Modern medicine has treatments to prevent the growth of primary tumor cells. But most cancer deaths are caused by metastasis, the stage when primary tumor cells change and move to other parts of the body. A team of Belgian scientists says it has found a way to prevent that process. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Mogadishu's Flood of Foreign Workers Leaves Somalis Out of Work

Unemployment and conflict has forced many young Somalians out of the country in search of a better life. But a newfound stability in the once-lawless nation has created hope — and jobs — which, some say, are too often being filled by foreigners. Abdulaziz Billow reports from Mogadishu.
Video

Video A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Water

Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Iraqi Kurdistan Church Helps Christian Children Cope find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil

In the past six weeks, tens of thousands of Iraqi Christians have been forced to flee their homes by Islamic State militants and find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil. Despite U.S. airstrikes in the region, the prospect of people returning home is still very low and concerns are starting to grow over the impact this is having on the displaced youth. Sebastian Meyer reports from Irbil on how one church is coping.
Video

Video NASA Picks Boeing, SpaceX to Carry Astronauts Into Space

The U.S. space agency, NASA, has chosen Boeing and SpaceX companies to build the next generation of spacecraft that will carry U.S. astronauts to the International Space Station by the year 2017. The deal with private industry enables NASA to end its dependence on Russia to send space crews into low Earth orbit and back. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Future of Ukrainian Former President's Estate Uncertain

More than six months after Ukraine's former President Viktor Yanukovych fled revolution to Russia, authorities have yet to gain control of his palatial estate. Protesters occupy the grounds and opened it to tourists but they are also refusing to turn it over to the state. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Mezhigirya, just north of Kyiv.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid