There was a memorial service held at the State Department today for Anne Smedinghoff. According to Life After Jerusalem, the ceremony was closed to the press at her family’s request. If you are part of the State Department community, you can watch it via BNET at bnet.state.gov/meetings.asx or later on BNET’s Video-on-Demand archive.
For so many, there’s been a “there but for the grace of God go I” sentiment in how everyone saw in Anne’s idealism and her courage just a little bit of who we’d all like to be, and more than a little bit of a reminder that in this dangerous world that calls on foreign service professionals, the risks are always with us.
What I hope we can do this week is celebrate Anne’s life together. So this Thursday, May 2, I ask you to help remember Anne by joining me and Anne’s family – Tom, Mary Beth, Mark, Regina, and Joan – at a memorial service that will celebrate her and honor her ideals.”
There were others at the memorial with speaking parts but only the one by Tara Sonenshine, the outgoing Under Secretary for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs has so far been posted online:
I’d like to thank Under Secretary Kennedy and Father Moretti for their moving words. I’d also like to extend a warm embrace to Anne’s family, friends, and colleagues; and to the mother of Kelly Hunt. Also to Steve Overman, Jeff Lodinsky, and the other U.S. civilians hurt in this incident; and to the families of the three servicemen just mentioned by Under Secretary Kennedy, who also lost their lives.
We have heard, and we will hear, much about Anne as a person. I want to talk about Anne as a member of the public diplomacy family.
You may read the text of the full remarks here. No photos or video appear to be available to the public for this memorial service.
Also just to note that Jeff Lodinsky was wounded in the Kunar suicide bombing incident last year, not the Zabul incident that killed Anne Smedinghoff. This is the first time we’ve heard about Steve Overman. We don’t know if he was wounded in Kunar or in Zabul. We think he might be with USAID but could not get confirmation on that.