There are certain moments in time, whether single acts or a series of familiar events, that help illustrate the story of our lives. Maybe it’s a national pastime like going to baseball games as a kid and watching your heroes play. Perhaps it’s a family vacation or nightly conversations at the dinner table. It could be watching any number of television sitcoms throughout their duration, reading a good book that had a profound impact on your life, or taking part in any number of time-sensitive fashion and music trends.
For me, I’ve experienced all of the above. But one more moment in time that I’d like to pay tribute to was that of Peter Jennings’ tenure at ABC News. Jennings died ten years ago today after losing his battle with lung cancer.
Jennings spent four decades with ABC and was a staple of not only the network but of the entire industry as well. Jennings’ sooth tones and demeanor are forever synonymous with television news for that period of my life, right up until the time his voice became raspy and gravelly and his health waned. His steady, on-air presence defined his poise and confidence in front of the camera, and was perhaps best exemplified by his live coverage of the terrible events of the September 11 attacks on New York and Washington.
Everybody of reasonable age remembers where they were when the planes hit the towers and the Pentagon. Me, I was a college sophomore, sitting at first in my dorm room and then later in my journalism class, eyes glued to the TV all day. What better real-life example of broadcast journalism for a communications major than witnessing live coverage of an ongoing national tragedy, narrated by one of our nation’s greatest anchors?
I was saddened by his passing a decade ago and cannot believe how fast time flies.