Young Diplomat Killed While Bringing Books to Kids

Yesterday morning, Andrew Meyer, the operations manager for the First Book Marketplace, sent an email to the First Book staff sharing his thoughts about Anne Smedinghoff, a young foreign service officer killed in Afghanistan while bringing books to children in need.

I was touched by Andrew’s email, and asked him if I could share it on the First Book blog.

Young Diplomat Killed Bringing New Books to Kids in Need
Anne Smedinghoff (Photo from

Many of you probably heard that six Americans were killed in a suicide attack in Afghanistan this past Saturday. It seems that we have something in common with at least one of them: Anne Smedinghoff, a 25-year-old foreign service officer from Chicago. Anne was killed while delivering textbooks to children at a school.

Certainly we’re far from the chaos of Afghanistan, but I can’t help but feel a kinship with this young woman. I know as well as anyone that this business — this business of doing good — can be extremely challenging: long hours, increasing demand, lower salaries, uncertain funding sources, etc.

But never forget that we are all doing our part to increase knowledge and level the playing field. We are contributing to a movement that will have an impact centuries from now.

I’ve had a lot of time to reflect on life since my wife’s passing back in September and I know that when my time comes I hope to be comforted by the fact that I’ve done my part to make the world just a little bit better.