LONDON – Leading politicians and journalists gathered in London on Wednesday to pay tribute to slain war correspondent Marie Colvin, a woman they remembered as fearless, dedicated and kind.
Colvin, 56, was killed on Feb. 22 when army shelling struck the building that served as a makeshift media center in the Syrian city of Homs. She worked for the Sunday Times of London.
Her editor John Witherow told a packed memorial service at St. Martin-in-the-Fields church that the world had lost someone "unbelievably special" and praised the American reporter's bravery and dedication.
"Our lives are poorer for not being able to see that smile, hear that throaty laugh and simply enjoy the company of a remarkable woman who was the greatest war correspondent of her generation," Witherow said.
He noted that Colvin — who lost vision in one eye in 2001 covering the civil war in Sri Lanka and was known for wearing an eye patch to cover the injury — was well aware of the risks associated with her work but thought she could make a difference in covering the Arab Spring uprisings, including the ongoing conflict in Syria.
"Tyrants hate the spotlight of publicity because it not only exposes their abuse of power but it can sometimes stay their hand," he said. "If anyone could stay their hands, it was Marie."
BBC journalist Lyse Doucet spoke of how "the bravest of the brave was also the kindest of the kind."
Colvin's mother and sister attended the memorial, along with Britain's Foreign Secretary William Hague and former Foreign Secretary David Miliband, who read a poem.
Prayers were said at the memorial for the safety of reporters working in war zones and areas of conflict around the world. There also were prayers for an end to the bloodshed in Syria, where the government's crackdown on protesters has left thousands dead over the past 14 months.