You’re never going to believe this. Yet, it’s true.
David Newhouse — editor of the Patriot-News of Harrisburg, Pa. — writes:
On Sept. 11, 2001, Maria Behr from the Harrisburg area was working as a securities trader at Cantor Fitzgerald in the World Trade Center.
She was one of 658 employees of the firm who perished when the north tower collapsed. She was one of two local folks who died on 9/11. (The other was a pilot on one of the planes.)
To put together Monday’s coverage of the 9/11 commemorations, we looked at hundreds of photos from The Associated Press and other news agencies. On Sunday night, we chose a New York photo for our front page. It showed a rose placed in the etched name of one of the victims. The photo had been shot by a photographer from the European Pressphoto Agency with no connection to our area. It was in no sense a local photo — to the photographer, the rose was placed in a random name out of 2,752 names. To us, it was in no sense a local photo — designer Megan Lavey chose it because it was eloquent.
That page was the only 9/11 page I posted yesterday. As I wrote then, it was, by far, the best page of the day. It seemed a fitting end to a long series of pages, graphics, photos and special sections I had been posting all week.
Here it is again:
The photographer, by the way, was New York-based freelancer Justin Lane.
David continues his story:
We were one of two papers around the country that used the photo similarly. The other was the Rockford Register Star.
For them, it truly was simply a beautiful photo. For us, by an incredible coincidence, it turned out to be something more.
Late Sunday night, it occurred to us that the name where the rose had been placed might possibly be that of Maria Behr. The first name was visible but only one letter of the last name. It probably would have hit me sooner if it had been the reverse. In any case, at that hour with and no way to verify it, we didn’t put anything in the paper or even bother Megan who was on deadline.
The next day, we contacted the European Pressphoto Agency to see if there was a larger, uncropped version. They sent it and it clearly showed that the name was that of Maria A. Behr.
You can’t make this stuff up, folks.