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Mother and son remember loved one at journalists memorial ceremony

By Heather Yamour WASHINGTON, April 5 (KUNA) -- Anne Todd and her son wandered the massive glass and steel halls of the Newseum, stopping in front of the glass display case which contains her husband's final message before dying, scrawled on a pillow case: "Please tell my family I love them." They have joined dozens of families from around the world to pay tribute to their loved ones, the journalist, editors, photographers, and broadcasters who lost their lives reporting the news, at the annual journalists memorial rededication ceremony hosted by the Newseum, the largest and most interactive museum dedicated to news.
Clark Todd, a correspondent for Canada Television (CTV), was on assignment in the Shouf Mountain village of Kfar Matta in the midst of Lebanon's bloody war. In September 1983, he was struck by sniper fire, or shrapnel, when Christian Phalanigist fighters cracked down on the Druze village. Too wounded to be taken down the mountain, he told his crew to save themselves and leave him behind, his wife recounted to KUNA.
"They left him assuming they would come back and fetch him but they couldn't get back. But they couldn't manage to get back into the mountains for another week," his wife explained.
His wife, Anne, remembers the night the telephone rang with the news of her husband's death. Her four-year-old son, Ben, had just started his first day of school and her middle daughter, Alex, was anxious to attend her first brownie troop meeting, a community service club for girls.
"She Alex was dying to be a brownie and I just didn't tell them until the next day because she had been waiting for so long to be a brownie, and she was going to be enrolled that night," his wife said.
Five months later, a French television crew found the pillow case with the blue ink scrawling and sent it back to his waiting widow and three small children, which left few details about his last wrenching hours in the mountains.
Above his final words to his family, he had scrawled "CTV-Canada," his wife believes was an effort to distinguish that he was not an American journalist, in the hopes that it would save him, but obviously did not.
His name now hangs among 1,843 journalists from around the world, killed because of their work. Of those, 66 died in 2006 and 92 in 2007.
At the solemn ceremony, the names of those journalists killed in the line of duty were read aloud, and a bell tolled for each one. His name was among them.
The journalist's names are added every year to the two-story glass panels of the monument, along with artifacts, mementos, and photographs, on display. Information about their affiliations and circumstances of their deaths are available on interactive kiosks next to the memorial.
For Anne and her now grown son, Ben, the memorial symbolizes a special tribute to the father's death, which will ensure his memory carries on, and also brings them together with the many other families who have experienced a similar loss.
"I'm just pleased there is someplace where people can come and look. Lots of people would not have heard of Clark, just as I had not heard a lot of people that were on the ceremony today. But also I know what those people are going through," Anne, his wife said.
This is the first tribute she had ever heard of. Standing next to it, she told KUNA that she was first told about it by one of the cameramen who was with her husband in Lebanon, and said it was "very moving, to make kids and even adults aware of what goes on." Reminiscing about her husband's motto was to break down "the essence and the truth of the story in a tiny little time frame," but said he always enjoyed his career, she mused, pointing to a quote, by H.L. Mencken, on the wall: "I know of no human being who has a better time than an eager and energetic young journalist." Her husband would have liked that.
The Newseum, opening April 11, 2008, is the newest and most expensive museums in the city, located between Capitol Hill and the White House; it features five centuries worth of news history, technology, and interactive exhibits to the public. (end) hy.ema KUNA 050858 Apr 08NNNN