June 27, 2021
Beverly Eckert is the wife of Sean Rooney, who died at the age of 50 on Sept. 11. Sean Rooney worked at Aon, WTC Tower Two – the South Tower.
Eckert and Rooney lived in Stamford, Connecticut. They both loved to cook. In an obituary for Sean Rooney with the headline, “A Man of the Kitchen,” the New York Times it was noted “Ms. Eckert likes to sit in their kitchen these days: The hardwood floors beneath her, the cabinets around her, the island in the middle and even the maple dining-room table were all built by Mr. Rooney, by hand. ‘When I sit there, I’m completely surrounded by him,’ she said. ‘That makes me feel happy.’”
In an interview with 9/11truth.org, Beverly Eckert recalled “My husband Sean worked in the South Tower, his office was on the 98th floor with a couple of hundred other people…They had a window of opportunity to escape down Staircase A, there were three staircases in the South Tower. I think they thought that the rooftop was an option, and so they went up and they were trapped because the roof doors were locked. And I heard from him, he called me and was able to get through to me so I was one of the very lucky family members, I was able to say goodbye. I know what happened to him, I know what his last moments were like. He was very brave.”
As post-9/11 events unfolded, Beverly Eckert was concerned about the direction her country was taking under President George W. Bush. She states “we went into Afghanistan with bombs and I did not support that. I do support stopping terrorists, but I do not think that [going to war] is the most effective way to stop them… It’s a short-term solution…I…think…we’ve created more terrorists….we’ve isolated the United States, we’ve isolated ourselves from potential allies.”
“I started a group called Voices of September 11th….I joined…Peaceful Tomorrows….we participated in the peace marches of course, before the war in Iraq started, and got a featured place in the New York City rally.” Eckert became a member of the Family Steering Committee for the 9/11 Independent Commission.
On December 19, 2003, USA Today published a guest column by Beverly Eckert titled “My Silence Cannot Be Bought.” In it she wrote “I’ve chosen to go to court rather than accept a payoff from the 9/11 victims’ compensation fund. Instead, I want to know what went so wrong with our intelligence and security systems that a band of religious fanatics was able to turn four U.S passenger jets into an enemy force, attack our cities and kill 3,000 civilians with terrifying ease. I want to know why two 110-story skyscrapers collapsed in less than two hours and why escape and rescue options were so limited.
I am suing because unlike other investigative avenues, including congressional hearings and the 9/11 commission, my lawsuit requires all testimony be given under oath and fully uses powers to compel evidence.”
Eckert further noted “By suing, I’ve forfeited the “$1.8 million average award” for a death claim I could have collected under the fund. Nor do I have any illusions about winning money in my suit. What I do know is I owe it to my husband, whose death I believe could have been avoided, to see that all of those responsible are held accountable.”
In an interview in March 2004, she was asked “You are among the families organizing for disclosure around the facts of Sept. 11th, the unanswered questions. When did you begin to suspect that maybe there was something there that we have not yet heard?” Beverly Eckert replied “I personally remember thinking, why doesn’t George Bush ever say, ‘This happened on my watch. I will find out how and why, and I will hold people accountable.’ I think that as president, he’s commander- in-chief. But he also owed it to the citizenry to find out what went wrong, and he was not pursuing that line at all. Family members got together and we had our first formal and public awareness campaign about the need for a commission in June of 2002. We had a rally in Washington, DC and started the ball rolling. President Bush has never met with the Family Steering Committee, of which I am a part of. We are the most active family members in getting this bill (establishing the 9/11 Commission) created and passed. There are twelve of us, and we have been to the White House for meetings with some domestic policy people, but never with George Bush.”
Commenting on the Victim’s Compensation Fund, Beverly Eckert said it was “pretty ingenious. What it did was, it made people relinquish their right to have questions answered about what went wrong. That’s what litigation is. Litigation has many facets. It’s about compensation, at its most basic level I guess, but it’s also about finding out what happened. It’s a fact-finding mechanism, through discovery and depositions, etcetera. And ultimately, especially in our society which is very litigious, reforms are implemented as a result of litigation. And that to me was the natural course.” She added that the purpose of the VCF was “to keep the families quiet.”
Eckert said in her March 2004 interview that she was not a “conspiracy theorist.” However, she said “I think the most sinister thing that I ever read was the PNAC, the Project for a New American Century, and the fact that they alluded to the need in some way for a Pearl Harbor event to happen, before the American public would be mobilized in supporting some of their agenda. That’s a very frightening thing to say, and to hear, and to know that those people are in this current administration. I think that is something that they need to explain. I think everybody who participated in that at a high level, in PNAC, need to be called by the Commission and asked to explain their line of thinking and their expectations, given the suggestion that this would be a good thing. This would be a good thing!”
Eckert said she was also involved in a lawsuit against Saudi Arabia to “bankrupt terrorism.” She was concerned about the connections between the Saudi Arabian government, Saudi nationals and her own government. She was worried that some arm of the American government would try to intervene and stop the lawsuit against Saudi Arabia. And found it odd that this would be done in the name of “national security.” As well, she lamented “All I know is Bin Laden’s whole family was flown out of the United States when nobody else was allowed to fly. Nobody else. Family members could not fly from wherever they were, to be with their loved ones. No (flights) were allowed commercially. I suppose there were some very limited number of military flights, but Bin Laden’s family was allowed to leave the country.”
As well, Eckert said in her March 2004 interview, regarding the collapse of the Twin Towers, “It fell like a house of cards. When did you see a building do that, unless it was being intentionally demolished? I heard the floor fall beneath my husband.”
On August 3, 2004, Beverly Eckert testified before the Congressional Committee on Government Reform. In her testimony she said “Too many of us lost someone we cherished on September 11th. Too many of us also lost our faith in a government we had blindly trusted to protect the people we loved. After September 11th, the country reached out to the families and asked what they could do to help us heal. We now have an answer: “Help us make these recommendations happen”. And our question to Congress, the President and this Committee is: “Are you willing to implement reforms, before this year is ended, and thereby restore our nation’s faith in its government?”
The anniversary of September 11th approaches. What better way to honor the memory of those who perished than by enacting legislation this year which ensures that no other family member has to experience what we have endured.
I hope I never see the day when another widow has to walk in my shoes. The time to act is now.”
After Sept. 11, Beverly Eckert became a member of the Skyscraper Safety Campaign, the Coalition of 9/11 Families, Families of September 11th, Fix the Fund, 9/11 Families for a Secure America, September Eleventh Families for Peaceful Tomorrows, 9/11 Families to Bankrupt Terrorism, and co-founder of Voices of September 11th.
Beverly Eckert travelled with fellow Family Steering Committee member, Carol Ashley, to meet President Barak Obama on February 6, 2009. In her exchange with Obama, Eckert lent her support for closing Guantanamo Bay. A week later she died in a small plane crash near Buffalo.
Beverly Eckert, “My Silence Cannot Be Bought,” USA Today, December 19, 2003.
“Interview with Beverly Eckert,” 911truth.org, Stamford, CT, March 3, 2004.
“Testimony of Beverly Eckert,” U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Government Reform, August 3, 2004.
Jim Dwyer, “Roused by 9/11, a Tireless, Clear-Headed Crusader for Truth in Government,” New York Times, February 14, 2009.
“A Man of the Kitchen,” New York Times, November 1, 2001.