One of the leading voices for the families of 9/11 victims is gone, said Mark Silva in the Chicago Tribune. Beverly Eckert—who was just at the White House last week to discuss fighting terrorism—was aboard Continental Flight 3407 when it crashed outside Buffalo, killing everyone onboard. She was on her way to her hometown to celebrate what would have been the 58th birthday of her late husband and high-school sweetheart, Sean Rooney, who died in the World Trade Center attacks.

Eckert’s inability, or unwillingness, to hide her tears, said Devlin Barrett of the Associated Press in the Kansas City Star, gave power to her voice on Capitol Hill, where she helped push lawmakers in 2004 to pass sweeping reform of the U.S. intelligence apparatus. “I did all of this for Sean’s memory,” she said, crying. “I did it for him.”

Eckert accomplished a great deal with the Voices of September 11 advocacy group, said The Women on the Web blog. “As co-chair, she pushed for a formal commission to investigate intelligence failures and for a proper memorial to the victims. We would like to think that Eckert is now reunited" with Sean Rooney and "celebrating his birthday together.”