September 11

September 11, 2009 12:57:21 PM PDT
It was, a long time ago, just a date on the calendar. September 11.

But no more.

And never again.

The terror attacks of eight years ago today changed all that. The date became destiny, death and sorrow.

Today, for seventh time, we broadcasted the entire memorial ceremony from Ground Zero. I've written about it for our website, and you can read today's column, by CLICKING HERE.

Many viewers have also written to us. We've posted their remembrances so can read them and submit your own by CLICKING HERE.

We'll have coverage of the ceremony, and the memorials held tonight around the region and the country, tonight at 11.

We'll also take a look at what can charitably be described as the bone-headed decision by the Coast Guard in Washington, D.C., to hold a training session on the Potomac.

On Sept. 11. As Pres. Obama was crossing the river to speak at the Pentagon memorial ceremony.

What in the world were these people thinking? Apparently no one had told the Dept. Of Homeland Security, or even the Coast Guard Commandant. Someone will take a fall, it appears.

There were reports that shots were fired during the exercise -- those turned out to be untrue. But, still, talk about bad timing.

Having said that, the incident says much about how the constant on-the-air-news has changed the way we cover stories.

SHOTS FIRED ON THE POTOMAC was the headline, based, apparently, on listening to police scanner chatter. If there had been some reporting, and patience for about, oh, 10 minutes, folks would have quickly realized this was a drill. And NO shots were fired. Instead, it becomes a bigger story because of the 24/7 nature of news these days. It wasn't just panic that was spread - flights were delayed for nearly half an hour.

I'm not pining for the old days, just pointing out that good, solid reporting has to take precedence over the compulsive drive to get on the air first. I'm just sayin'.

And there's a death of note on this Sept. 11. Gertrude Baines died this morning at a hospital in Los Angeles. You probably never heard of her in life. But she was a big deal: The world's oldest known person. She was 115. She was reportedly well and alert just two days ago -- even complained that the bacon she was served wasn't crisp enough.

Finally, our Phil Lipof has been riding along with Newark Police, as they try (without much success so far) to put a lid on crime. Tonight at 11, Phil goes with an anti-gang unit, and the things he sees and that cops discover, will send shivers up your spine.

We'll also have any breaking news of the night, plus Lee Goldberg's AccuWeather forecast, and Scott Clark with the night's sports, including Derek Jeter's quest to break Lou Gehrig's record for all-time hits as a Yankee.

BILL RITTER


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