A worthy sendoff for a great journalist. Hundreds of people turned out this morning at the JFK Library for a memorial service for the Boston Globe's Elizabeth Neuffer, who -- along with her translator, Waleed Khalifa Hassan Al Dulaimi -- were killed in a car accident in Iraq on May 9.
I did not take notes -- somehow it would have seemed disrespectful -- but I can report that it was dignified, emotional, and fitting for someone whose foreign correspondence represented the best that the news media can offer.
Editorial-page editor Renée Loth presided over a program that included remembrances by editor Marty Baron, former Ambassador Swanee Hunt, staff reporters Farah Stockman and Anne Barnard, retired Globe staff member Susan Trausch [Correction: Trausch is still employed as an editorial writer for the paper], foreign editor Jim Smith, and Pulitzer Prize winner Samantha Power, who -- like Stockman -- credited Neuffer with starting her on her journalism career.
Especially moving was a tribute by her longtime companion, Washington-bureau chief Peter Canellos.
The Reverends Ray and Gloria White-Hammond opened and closed the service, which was held in a huge anteroom, a wall of windows behind the speakers, with Boston Harbor and the city skyline barely visible amid the fog and mist.
Neuffer's friends put together a memorial book called Remembering Elizabeth. It closes with this handwritten note:
To Whomever Finds This:
This is being written at the end of 1999 -- and at the beginning of a new millennium. It is also the end of a century, what has been one of the bloodiest centuries ever seen -- despite the incredible advancements mankind has made in science, the arts, and medicine. As a foreign correspondent for The Boston Globe -- which hopefully still is a newspaper that publishes in New England! -- I had some part in seeing some of this bloodshed while reporting on wars in the Gulf, Bosnia, and Rwanda. I would hope by the time you find this note, wars are extinct. But if they are not, please think again -- and stop them. I'd like to think the next millennium will be one in which people are not killed -- or prejudiced against -- because of their race, ethnicity or religion. In fact, all of us in 1999 are counting on you to ensure the future is one of peace. Please make it so.