By William F. O’Brien
A memorial service was held for New York Times reporter and Oklahoma City native
Anthony Shadid last week at the Civic Center in downtown Oklahoma City Shaded had died of an asthma attack last month while in the Middle East.
United States Ambassador to Syria Robert Ford served as master of ceremonies and introduced the speakers. Ford told the assembled guests that Shadid had been his friend and that his reporting from the Arab world for which he had won two Pulitzer prizes was more insightful that some of the CIA reports that the American Embassy received.
He also said that Shadid had travelled throughout the Arab world at considerable personal risk, and that in addition to be being a good reporter Shadid was a good friend as well as being a good husband and father.
Shadid had mastered Arabic by attending courses in Cairo Egypt, and his command of that tongue allowed him to convey in his reporting of events transforming the Arab world.
Dr. Joe Foote, Dean of the Gaylord School of Journalism at OU said that the school was very proud of Shadid, who had attended that school for two years before transferring to the University of Wisconsin, and that he will be receiving posthoumsly a doctorate from OU in May.
Lynne Roller of the OKC National Memorial and Museum told the gathering that she had known Shadid since they attended Heritage Hall High School together. She said he had distinguished himself there, was the class valedictorian and received several other honors for both academic and athletic accomplishments.
The decedent’s brother, Damon Shaded, spoke emotionally about the love and respect that he had for him and that he still hears his voice.
Phil Bennet, and editor at the Washington Post, reminded the guests that Anthony Shaded had worked there before he went to the New York Times, and said that he was the greatest foreign correspondent of his generation. Buddy Shadid, Anthony’s father, said that he was his” golden boy” and that he had been having nightmares for several years in which his son was injured.
He also said that he would try to come to terms with his loss in the weeks and months to come.
Susan Chira, the Assistant Managing Editor of the New York Times, reported that Anthony Shadid’s enthusiasm came over the phone and that she is missing him every day.
Laila Shadid, Shadid’s 10-year- old daughter, told of how her father had taught her to play poker at an early age, and that he maintained contact with her when he was overseas.
The reporter’s widow, Nada Bakri, spoke about how he had purchased the home in Lebanon that had been his great grandparents, and showed a video of Anthony Shadid offering a video tour of that structure.