Television has helped the world share in many memorable moments. Most of us got our first glimpse of these breaking stories via a television broadcast and we will dicuss five such stories here. Some are heartbreaking, some are heartwarming, but they all brought our nation together around our TV sets.
September 11, 2001
The events of September 11, 2001 changed our country. For the first time since Japan bombed Pearl Harbor war had come to American soil. Terrorists from al-Qaeda hijacked 4 American planes. Two of these planes crashed into the World Trade Center in New York City. One crashed into the Pentagon, in Washington DC. The other is believed to have been intended for the White House, but it crashed before it reached its target. Americans watched the television broadcast live as the two WTC towers came down with thousands of people still inside. We united as a country as we watched Firefighters, Paramedics, and Police Officers risk their lives to save those trapped in the rubble. A national survey conducted a few days after the attacks found that adults watched an average of 8 hours of television broadcasts relating to the attacks.
2000 Presidential Election Night
This election night had television broadcasts confused as they scrambled to figure out who had won the election. Many news networks ended up calling the election for George Bush or Al Gore at some point during the night. News companies always strive to be the first with the headlines, and 24-hour news coverage makes that competition even fiercer. In the end, it took five weeks and the Supreme Court to make the final decision on who would be our next President. It also had many news organizations reconsidering how they should handle election night coverage.
O.J. Simpson Car Chase
The O.J. Simpson Chase was one the strangest car chases ever to appear on a nationwide television broadcast. Three days after the murders of Ron Goldman and Nicole Simpson, O.J. Simpson was charged with their murder and expected to turn himself in. The television broadcast of the slow chase with the infamous white Bronco had 95 million viewers. People were enthralled as they watched the Bronco going slowly down Interstate 5 with many police cruisers behind him. Simpson went on the drive after leaving a note with Robert Kardashian. Authorities assumed it was a suicide note and knew he had a gun in the car. The chase ended when he returned to his home, with several news choppers there covering every detail.
Princess Diana’s Wedding
England’s Princess Diana married royal heir Prince Charles on July 29, 1981. It was a beautiful ceremony and she quickly became “The People’s Princess,” beloved around the world. This television broadcast was viewed by over 700 million people worldwide. Her death 16 years later brought an end to the fairytale.
The Rescue of Baby Jessica
On October 14, 1987, Jessica McClure fell into an abandoned well shaft near her home. She was just 18 months old, and her aunt who was watching her at the time, was terrified. Her mother, who arrived soon after the rescue team, nearly went into shock fearing that she would never see her daughter again. As the rescue teams began bringing in everything from a video camera to put in the hole to see her to excavation equipment, television broadcast teams also arrived on the scene. The country watched most of Jessica’s 52-hour ordeal, and the moment they brought her out will forever be etched in our minds.