National Catholic Register

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Barbara Olson Remembered at D.C. Service

BY Jim Cosgrove

September 23-29, 2001 Issue | Posted 9/23/01 at 1:00 AM

 

ARLINGTON, Va. — U.S. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas delivered a eulogy at the Sept. 15 memorial service for lawyer and television commentator Barbara Olson. The wife of U.S. Solicitor General Theodore Olson, she was aboard the jetliner that crashed into the Pentagon.

Her memorial service at St. Thomas More Cathedral in Arlington brought together many of the political elite in Washington, Associated Press reported. “This is indeed a sad occasion. One to be repeated thousands of times by our fellow citizens across the country,” said Thomas in his eulogy.

Olson, 45, who served as a chief investigator for the House Government Reform Committee in the mid-1990s that looked into Clinton-era allegations, called her husband from her cellphone before the plane went down.

The service, which featured prayers for the Olson family, friends and the country, left most of the 1,500 people gathered at the cathedral in tears, Associated Press reported.

Said Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, “She was passionate and devoted to our country. She always had a smile on her face.”

In his sermon at the memorial service, Father Franklyn McAfee, pastor of St. Catherine of Siena Church in Great Falls, Va., said, “In the final moments of that awful drama, we all know that Barbara called her husband, Ted, on her phone, to inform him of what was going on, to ask for his advice, and tell him of her love … In imminent danger, at the very door of death, she turns to her husband, whom she trusts. Many poems can be written about love, but this surpasses them all.”

Added Father McAfee, “Barbara Olson, full of life, cheerful, laughing, smiling, loving, was the opposite of the dark powers that brought her death. But their evil deed was in vain. We are people of life. And no terrorist, no matter how powerful, can take that away. As Pope John Paul II has said, ‘When God gives life, he gives it forever.’”