Approximately 150 community members gathered Saturday to honor Anne Smedinghoff's life by dedicating the garden in front of the River Forest Public Library to her memory.
The dedication ceremony featured speeches from her father, Tom Smedinghoff, who thanked the assembled members of the community for coming together over the past few months in memory of his daughter, who was killed in Afghanistan while attempting to deliver books to the Afghans.
Alice Calabrese-Berry, president of the River Forest Library Board, spoke about the library board's unanimous decision to name the garden after Smedinghoff because she meant so much to the community.
Joan Smedinghoff read one of her sister's favorite poems and two groups, one made up of local children and the other of family members, each released 25 butterflies in memory of her 25 years of life.
Tom Smedinghoff said the dedication of the garden in his daughter's name was a perfect fit, as her interest in becoming a diplomat was inspired by her love of reading.
"It was striking to me that when I was going through her possessions that came back from Kabul and was going through the packet that had her passport and driver's license, there was her River Forest library card in that packet as well," he said.
The ceremony ended with a compilation of Smedinghoff's favorite songs as people filed out of the memorial garden.