There are certain people who are driven by a sense of mission to the most dangerous places on Earth.
Some are soldiers. Others are medical professionals. And still others are reporters or photographers.
Freelance journalist James Foley, 40, a native of Rochester, New Hampshire, was one of those people drawn to the front lines, and he paid for his passion with his life.
Twelve years ago, Daniel Pearl, a Wall Street Journal bureau chief who once worked at Banner sister papers the Berkshire Eagle and the former North Adams Transcript, was another journalist who was slain in pursuit of his passion. Pearl, whose body was found in 2002 in Pakistan when he was 39, was close to the same age as Foley when he was killed in the same manner -- video-recorded execution.
As President Obama said Wednesday, Foley’s beheading at the hands of Islamic militants "was an act of violence that shocked the conscience of the entire world."
To be sure, reporting from conflict zones, as Foley and Pearl both did, is treacherous and unpredictable. Indeed, while reporting in Libya in 2011, Foley was captured and held for 44 days. In his more recent capture, he was missing in Syria since November 2012.
Pearl was in captivity for nearly four months before he was killed.
Both were working for American news outlets at the time of their capture and execution.
Yet this high-risk work is imperative so the world can know what is really happening in remote and dangerous areas.
Without journalists like Foley and Pearl, who are willing to put their lives on the line, many important stories would go untold.
Foley’s execution by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant is illustrative of the atrocities the group routinely engages in. His killing was truly barbaric.
We grieve with Foley’s parents and loved ones. We also honor and respect the work that he did.
And we pray for Steven Sotloff, the second American journalist hostage ISIS terrorists are threatening to kill unless the U.S. stops its intervention in Iraq.
~Denver Post/Bennington Banner