I walked to the bus stop not knowing that the world had stopped. It was when I arrived at school and I heard his voice that I finally realized our nation was under attack. For sixty hours following the attacks on 9/11 I heard only one voice, the voice of Peter Jennings. He was calm, yet at times showed emotion. He was strong, yet subtle in displays of human weakness. His voice I will miss the most. Peter Jennings, 67, died yesterday at his home of lung cancer.
April 5th I wrote a post about Jennings' announcement that he had been diagnosed with lung cancer. It was that shocking to me. You have to realize that the only voice I've ever known on ABC's World News Tonight was that of Jennings. He became the anchor in 1983, two years before I was born. Of course I've watched the Powerhouse-3, Jennings, Rather, and Brokaw, my entire life, but of the 3 he was always my favorite. There was something about his voice, his smirk, his style. On 9/11 and the days that followed, the news was personal again like it had not been since the days of Walter Cronkite that fateful November in 1963 when Kennedy was assassinated, Oswald was shot on national television, and a country mourned and buried their president.
Sadly, this I believe this may be the end of something amazing. With the emergence of the 24-hour news networks, Fox News, and CNN, the days of commanding broadcast anchors are quickly departing. Jennings was the last to go. Without Brokaw, without Rather, and without Jennings, news will just be news again. With Brokaw we had a warning that he was soon to retire, with Rather we had a scandal that pointed toward the exit, but with Jennings we just woke up one morning and he was gone. What we should love about America is that every night a man on television who came into our homes to tell us the news was once a dropout and he made it. His is the ultimate success story.