I was browsing through the archives of my blog the other day and noticed how many obituaries I had written. I was kicking myself for only celebrating people I respected and admired postmortem. I started racking my brain trying to think of someone who was still alive that I had not yet told the world how much I think of them. Unfortunately, one of those names that crossed my mind was not Peter Jennings. So now, here I go again with another retrospective on a life that is no more.
He was Canadian, he was a high school drop out, he started his broadcasting career at the age of nine. These are the nice trivial facts that are fun to talk about. But what were the reasons when I chose to watch a national news broadcast I usually chose ABC (even though I didn’t watch their local news until much later in life)? I gotta think a primary reason was Peter Jennings. Those broadcast tended to focus more on international affairs (something my local news wasn’t giving in depth coverage on until the past four years or so). There seemed to be more of a world focus on ABC’s coverage, and I like to think Jennings had a major role in that. This Canadian high school dropout (look trivial facts) seemed annoyed by the coverage of the Simpson trial and the Lewinsky scandal.
But when I think back to the two major events of my adult life (the millennium and 9/11) I remember Peter Jennings. He was my major source of information, my eyes to the world, my conscience to a degree. The moment that stands out to me the most though (and I’m sure it will be replayed thousands of times in the next few days) was when he talked about calling his children on September 11, 2001. He was not concerned about their well being (he knew they were no where near any of the three crash sites) but wanted to talk to them about the turmoil the world was in. He wanted to make sure they knew that he was thinking about them and didn’t understand what had happened any more than they did.
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