Buffalo, New York- January 19, 2010 – Continuing their push for passage of the FAA Reauthorization Bill, the ‘Families of Continental Flight 3407’ announced that they would attend the Commerce Committee’s hearing on Aviation Security, to be held Wednesday, January 20th, at 2:30 pm in Room 106 of the Dirksen Senate Office Building. The hearing topic has special significance for the family of passenger Beverly Eckert, who lost her husband Sean Rooney in the 9/11 attack on the World Trade Center and became a fierce advocate for homeland security reform.
“As the Senate begins this session, we need to continue to keep our issue of aviation safety, particularly with the regional airlines, in the national spotlight” stated Karen Eckert of Williamsville, New York, one of Beverly’s sisters. “Although aviation security is understandably the hot topic right now, Beverly’s relentless advocacy continues to show us our next step. In this case, we feel it is important for the key members of the Commerce Committee, particularly Chairman Rockefeller, who also sits on the Finance Committee, to see our faces and be reminded again that we aren’t going away until these issues are addressed through the passage of the FAA Bill.”
As co-founder of the group “Voices of September 11th” Beverly Eckert worked the halls of congress for over four years. She and fellow members of the 9/11 Steering Committee worked diligently, meeting with key lawmakers and the media to advocate for the establishment of an independent commmission to investigate the events of that day and then enact into law its recommendations. Their efforts led to the commision being established in November of 2002. In December 2004, as a result of the commission report and recommendations, Congress passed the “Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act” which, among other things, created the office of Director of National Intelligence (DNI) and establised the National Counterterrorism Center. According to her sisters, there is sad irony that her death was aviation related.
“In the aftermath of 9/11, one of the first questions Beverly raised was how did these terrorists breach the security systems of our airline industry,” added Susan Bourque of East Aurora, New York, another one of Beverly’s sisters. “Clearly the events of that day proved that the everything that could possibly have been done in the name of pasenger safety was not done, likely because of the economic cost. So it is sad that over eight years later, we are back again raising questions about the aviation industry, and what could have been done to prevent her death. If she was still around today, there is no doubt she would be at this hearing, so hopefully our presence will be a small reminder that the industry needs to do better in both areas.”
In addition to attending this hearing, the group will also meet with staffers representing key members on the Commerce and Finance Committees, in whose hands rest the fate of the FAA Reauthorization Act with the safety provisions that the group supports.