By Brian Williams, Anchor and managing editor
I was on standby at the Broadcast Center during the Opening Ceremonies (which U.S. audiences will see tonight on NBC) so while I could not attend, I watched it all.
There was an interesting juxtaposition when the coverage got underway this morning. We here are able to see a satellite feed of WNBC-TV programming in New York, where this morning on local news, just before the Opening Ceremonies, the lead story was about an overpass that was hit by a truck and collapsed onto the roadway on the Major Deegan Expressway back home in New York. Traffic during the morning commute was tied up for miles. The heavy construction effort to lift up the wreckage (say nothing of repair and replacement) hadn't yet begun. It looked like a collapse of the aging New York City infrastructure, and it was jarring to go from that image to this city's gleaming, high-tech public "coming out", the unveiling of Beijing for the world.
What you won't see on tonight's opening ceremonies is the Chinese equivalent of the Major Deegan Expressway. This is a nation (home to fully one-fifth of humanity) with so many challenges and so much grinding poverty and struggle.
What you WILL see tonight is nothing short of spectacular. As one Old China Hand put it earlier today: China today took a leap ahead of several centuries, and this may well be the opening of the China Century. For now, it's a ceremony, an extraordinary TV show in an extraordinary place. So we'll light the flame, start the Games, and continue covering the story. We hope to see you from Beijing tonight (and all weekend, I might add, and into next week) for all the day's news.