Hundreds gather to remember Md. man killed in Egypt

Hundreds of people gathered Friday at the National Cathedral to mourn the loss of 21-year-old Andrew Pochter, who was killed during protests in Egypt. (WTOP/Max Smith)

WASHINGTON – Exchanging hugs and tears, and remembering a college student from Chevy Chase who loved to bring people together, hundreds of friends and family gathered Friday at the National Cathedral to remember Andrew Pochter.

The 21-year-old was killed last month while watching protests in Alexandria, Egypt.

“Egypt is hazardous right now,” Pochter wrote just weeks before he was killed in a letter to a boy he was mentoring.

His older sister Emily read the letter at the funeral.

“I lose electricity and water all the time, but that’s okay because I have many Egyptian friends to help take care of me. When I am in trouble, they take care of me and when they are in trouble, I always take care of them,” Pochter wrote on June 10.

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A group of women hug during a funeral service for 21-year-old Andrew Pochter, of Chevy Chase, Md. He was killed during protests in Egypt where he was spending the summer teaching. (WTOP/Max Smith)

The chaplain from the Blue Ridge school where Pochter graduated from high school said in the homily that he was awed by Andrew.

“May we come to share more and more of Andrew’s curiosity and openness. His embrace of people who are different. His willingness to love and let his heart be broken,” Rev. David McIlhiney said.

Many at the service remembered Pochter’s desire to reach out and bring people together. He spent a “gap year” after high school in Morocco, studied in Jordan, and was teaching English to children in Alexandria, Egypt this summer.

Pochter was very interested in the Middle East and North Africa, and his family says he “planned to live and work there in the pursuit of peace and understanding.”

“Though raised as a Christian, he reached out at Kenyon {college} to embrace his Jewish heritage as well. And certainly his search for a vocation in the Muslim world seemed to be a part of his all-encompassing religious quest,” McIlhiney added.

Before the service, about a dozen young women moved close together in a circle off to the side of the church’s knave, put their arms around each other, and wiped away tears. Some people came to the service even though they didn’t know Pochter.

Dina Soliman of Bethesda is originally from Egypt.

“A lot of Egyptians are very saddened. Not only about him, but there are many other innocent lives that have been lost,” she says.

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