Monday, April 04, 2005

I hate cancer

Terrible news: Peter Jennings has been diagnosed with lung cancer. He's always been my favorite anchor, with his occasionally ironic, subversive undertones that told you, "No, I can't believe this *&*@ either."

I loved his coverage of the Millennium celebrations around the world, including a sobering stop in a refugee camp in the famine-stricken African nation of Djibouti, where fireworks were the last thing on people's minds. Television was at its best that day, doing what no other medium can--bringing the world together, giving it a good look at itself, and showing (occasionally) that what binds us is greater than what separates us.

But what I remember most is that he was "there for me" on September 11, 2001, on that terrible day and for four straight days until we finally had the courage to turn the television off, after his round table discussion with American children the morning of September 15. He was like a lifeline amid the fear and uncertainty, sharing our grief without being overwhelmed by it.

Jennings has apparently been ill for some time, unable to travel to tsunami-stricken Asia or even to do last Saturday's special coverage of the Pope's death. He will begin chemotherapy soon and plans to continue anchoring "World News Tonight" when he feels able.

Get-well wishes can be posted here. Snail mail address is ABC News, 7 West 66th Street, New York, NY 10025.

I freakin' hate cancer.


This Side of Salvation

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Jeri Smith-Ready

Jeri Smith-Ready is a Maryland author of books for teens and adults.

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