Frank Heffernan thought his daughter Megan was in South Korea the place she was working as an English trainer when he heard the information of a devastating terrorist assault on the Indonesian island of Bali on Oct. 12, 2002.
Then the State Division referred to as.
Megan Heffernan, 28, who was born and raised in Alaska and had a ardour for journey, was among the many 202 individuals who had been killed within the coordinated bombings carried out by an affiliate of Al Qaeda at a pub and nearby club in Bali. She had gone there with associates on a trip.
“Not a day goes by that I don’t consider her,” mentioned Mr. Heffernan, mopping his eyes with a tissue at his residence in Florida.
Within the random, merciless trend of terrorism, the bombing killed vacationers and staff from 22 nations who occurred to be in a industrial district, together with 38 Indonesians. Among the many lifeless had been Australian and British residents who had been there for a rugby match, Individuals captivated with browsing — and Megan and two Korean associates, who had been out sightseeing when the bombs exploded.
Now, 20 years later, a couple of dozen family members who carry the reminiscence of the principally forgotten assault are heading to a different faraway place, Guantánamo Bay, within the U.S.-controlled portion of Cuba. There they may characterize the lifeless for a army jury charged with deciding a jail sentence for 2 Malaysian males who pleaded responsible to conspiring within the bombings.
Amongst these making the journey are Mr. Heffernan and his spouse, Bonnie Ok. Corridor, whose personal daughters knew Megan in Anchorage. Megan’s mom, Sandra, died of the coronavirus three years in the past. Mr. Heffernan mentioned he was going to “to precise to the court docket the true loss” of his daughter, “a really considerate and spiritual woman who cherished to journey.”
He mentioned he trusts the court docket — the choose and the army jury that’s anticipated to be assembled subsequent week — to determine a good sentence.
“We don’t even know the involvement of these two males,” Ms. Corridor mentioned of the prisoners, who’ve been held by the USA since 2003, first by the C.I.A. after which from 2006 at Guantánamo Bay.
In an interview, Mr. Heffernan mentioned he had not dwelled on attempting to grasp what was behind the assault.
“Regardless of the wicked and twisted reasoning behind the bombing, whether or not it was due to authorities, faith or nationwide variations, the bombing value 202 folks their lives,” he wrote in his sufferer influence assertion for the court docket.
It has left “everlasting heartache to hundreds of relations and associates,” he added.
Prosecutors by no means proposed the demise penalty within the three-defendant Bali bombing case, in contrast to in the Sept. 11 case at Guantánamo. Now, with this week’s guilty pleas, solely an Indonesian man often known as Hambali will face trial because the accused “operational mastermind” of the Jemaah Islamiyah motion, which carried out the bombing. That trial could start next year.
Mr. Heffernan mentioned he turned an opponent of capital punishment years in the past after a go to to Vatican Metropolis, the place he noticed Pope John Paul II. It was an epiphany of types, he mentioned, that introduced him in keeping with “the theology towards the demise penalty.”
“Additionally, being outdated, I notice that in case you are given sufficient grace to dwell that lengthy, you may look again and remorse the issues that you just’ve finished,” he added.
Megan’s favourite colour was purple, and she or he favored a T-shirt whose slogan learn, “Life Is Unsure. Eat Dessert First,” Mr. Heffernan mentioned. She would have turned 50 final month.
Yearly since she died, Mr. Heffernan has marked Megan’s birthday, Dec. 12, by donating a set of purple vestments for a priest to put on whereas celebrating Mass. Every has just a little tag commemorating his daughter.
Final yr’s donation has already been despatched to Alaska, Ms. Corridor mentioned. “They are going to journey with a priest from village to village.”
By the point of her demise, Megan Heffernan had skied in Argentina, taken a visit throughout highschool to Greece and visited Eire along with her older brother Michael, youthful sister Maureen and Maureen’s husband. Their father paid for the journey however didn’t tag alongside for concern he would possibly spoil the enjoyable.
“Kids born to a Heffernan father are the luckiest youngsters on the earth,” mentioned Ms. Corridor, who recalled how he wrote Megan each week, utilizing a No. 2 pencil and authorized pad, after she moved to Busan, South Korea, to show English to medical doctors, working towards physicians, in a post-doctorate training program. Typically he despatched care packages of Pringles, cookies and different favorites.
She traveled all through Asia, to Japan, Taiwan and Thailand. She went from China to Vietnam on riverboats, down the Mekong and took a bus to Hanoi, her father mentioned. He had visited a few of these locations in the course of the Vietnam Warfare when, in 1967 and 1968, he was an Military helicopter medevac pilot and earned the Distinguished Flying Cross for his valor. “She would go someplace and inform us afterward,” Mr. Heffernan mentioned.
She had loads of concepts of how she needed to spend the remainder of her life. She took images with a digital camera her father had given her. He thought she would possibly wish to be a photographer. She was fairly sufficient to be a mannequin, he mentioned, and had the grace to maybe be an actress. When she was completed touring, she needed to purchase a lodge in Alaska.
The State Division referred to as inside a day or so of the bombings. Mr. Heffernan realized his daughter had been on trip in Indonesia. Rescue staff in Bali, 13 time zones away, had been attempting to determine the survivors, the injured and the lacking.
The subsequent name requested for Megan’s dental information. It was then, he mentioned, that he started praying for forgiveness for any faults he had made alongside the way in which in elevating his eldest daughter.