As Wednesday will be the anniversary of the World Trade Center terrorist attacks I’ve been remembering that day 18 years ago.
For me, learning of the attacks was largely a radio experience. It’s a bit surprising considering that I’m of a generation that grew up experiencing breaking news and live events primarily through live TV.
I first learned of the attacks over the radio while boarding the school bus on my way to high school. The hijacked airlines were still being crashed into the Twin Towers at that point. It was a disturbingly quiet busload of teenagers that morning.
During school I had one teacher who let us watch some news on TV. Most of the others briefly spoke of the event and then tried to carry on with the day’s lesson.
I was pulled out of school early that day for a dental appointment. It was news radio again on the drive to the dentist. The dental office was also listening to the radio with a speaker in the ceiling of each room. Again, it was all news. Music had been ripped off the air.
Listening to the radio, the distracted dental assistant pricked me with the pick over and over again until she finally decided to reach up and turn off the volume.
Later, I was reluctant to watch the TV news coverage. Personally, I’ve always preferred newspapers for this type of coverage.
TV news hits you with an endless barrage of tragedy, shock and speculation for days at a time. The tragedy consumes your life for days on end.
With print news you grab a couple a newspapers in the morning, read them over, learn what is known at that time, come to the end of the article and set the paper aside. If it’s a major story you repeat the process the next day and the next day.
A few years later, I did learn of Osama bin Laden’s death from TV. A musician friend of mine was going to have his song played on an episode of Extreme Home Makeover. Although I don’t normally watch the show I made a point of tuning in to the right channel, only to discover the episode was not being aired in order to show breaking news coverage of the killing of bin Laden.