I have to take a moment to write about a video clip we played in the open of the show this morning and then re-visited at 7:17 a.m. The clip shows navy officer Bill Hawes home from a seven-month tour in Iraq, surprising his six-year-old son in his school classroom - his son jumps up, crying, and runs into his father's arms (WATCH VIDEO).
We rehearsed the open - as we always do - to make sure our video played out in sequence and the talent knew what was coming, and after that clip Meredith, Natalie and Matt all had tears in their eyes. Again when we were live at the top of the show, the clip played through and we saw glistening in Matt and Meredith's eyes as they spoke about the video. Meredith said, "For all of the negative images coming out of the Iraq war, that is an incredibly beautiful one," and Matt admitted after the segment a few minutes later, "I get teary picking my kids up from school every day, and that's after only eight hours...seven months in the life of a six-year-old is an eternity."
I am sitting in the newsroom during a commercial break and we are all talking about the footage as well. Our anchors are still talking about it as well in the studio. Natalie Morales just came down here to watch it replayed on the computer. It was just so moving, heartfelt and honest to see the boy's expression when he realized his father was standing in front of his class. Jim Wilson, our news writer, was on the phone saying to someone, "This video...brought everything home to a level where everyone can feel how heartbreaking it is...it was an extraordinary piece - it captured emotion like no piece has ever captured emotion..."
I have a feeling that that short video clip of a young boy may become somewhat iconic as far as representing the war in Iraq here at home - an amazing spontaneous moment in one family's story, but as Matt pointed out, "There are people over there making incredible sacrifices every day." A special thank you to our Seattle affiliate KING for capturing such a special and compelling glimpse into that special reunion.