(CBS) –The body of Anne Smedinghoff, the U.S. diplomat form River Forest killed in Afghanistan over the weekend, has been returned to the U.S.
Tom and Mary Beth Smedinghoff say their daughter’s death has been unbearable, but they are not hiding away.
“We want to honor and treasure what Anne has been and we want the world to know what a wonderful person she was,” said Mary Beth Smedinhoff.
The Smedinghoffs say she was determined to make life better in Afghanistan.
“She explained that she thought that she could learn an awful lot and she thought that she could be of value,” said Mary Beth Smedinghoff.
Funeral arrangements for Anne Smedinghoff are pending.
Long before her foreign service career began, Fenwick graduate Anne Smedinghoff had a passion for helping others.
“And what attached to that was the genuine feeling that she wanted to make the world a better place,” said Fenwick school counselor Tom Egan.
Landing a job with the State Department was a dream come true.
She wanted to combine public service. She wanted to work for our country and she also wanted to travel,” said Egan.
Smedinghoff documented her adventures on Facebook and Twitter.
“I think what she enjoyed the most was the opportunity to represent her nation abroad,” said Fenwick teacher Jerry Lordan.
The 25-year-old excelled in her role–something noted by Secretary of State John Kerry after her death.
Asked if she was aware of the dangers she might face, Lordan replied, “She was. I asked her what life was like in Kabul, and she said ‘well, we don’t see a lot of Kabul. We’re really kept inside a fortified diplomatic station, and we don’t get out that often.”
It was on one of those brief trips outside the compound, to deliver books to Afghan children, that Smedinghoff and four others were killed by a suicide bomber.
Those who knew her choose not to focus on how she died, but instead how she lived.
“Her legacy will be her optimism, and that it isn’t so much what any one of us will accomplish or can accomplish, but rather what we can accomplish if we work in close harmony with others,” said Lordan.
Fenwick High school is planning to a hold a memorial mass and assembly honoring Smedinghoff Tuesday morning at 9.