In Midtown Manhattan, it's a neither-here-nor-there day. I suppose it's like that in a lot of places: the streets are virtually free of cars, stores are open but virtually free of customers. Nightly News is operating on a kind of modified holiday staff -- it doesn't feel like a normal Monday... nor does it feel like July 4th. Because the holiday we observe today is relatively new, and because its namesake was a figure of our own times, today at least has an impact among Federal Holidays. I was struck this morning by a live picture from Dr. King's grave. As members of the public filed by, I realized that this year, for the first time, Coretta Scott King is by her husband's side. That scholars and civilians alike can now examine Dr. King's papers also adds to the impact of this year's holiday.
In the news, weather is a huge concern. As we will show with a graphic tonight, there is a clear dividing line between the liquid and frozen precipitation. North of the line there are real troubles and real suffering as a result.
Tonight we'll examine what is known about the President's new Iraq policy -- Richard Engel will walk us through the expected changes on the ground in Baghdad. Andrea Mitchell has been flying all over the Middle East with Secretary Rice and will report in for us tonight. Kevin Tibbles will wrap up all details on this double-abduction case in Missouri that still has people amazed. We will launch a series tonight that has to do with the survival of a proud American industry: It's called "Car Wars."
I have two favorite stories in tonight's broadcast: one long, one short. The long one makes me angry not to be a kid. The Museum of Natural History, one of the best places in the city of New York (thanks, Teddy Roosevelt) is sponsoring sleepovers for kids in conjunction with the new film "A Night at the Museum" starring Ben Stiller. Fossils by flashlight... sleeping under the whale... walking through the butterfly cage... what could be better than that? The small story of great interest tonight has to do with a proposed merger in the 1950s -- a high-level merger -- that would have left us with quite a different world had it gone through. I'll leave it at that.
I'm off to see my friend Conan -- taping a show that will air later this week. As they say, check your local listings.
We hope you can join us on this holiday Monday evening.