By Lester Holt, NBC News anchor
By now we've all read those list of the top ten this, and top ten that of 2009, including the biggest news stories of the year. Rightfully, the economy, the inauguration of Barack Obama, and the health care battle are among the big stories that stand out for the year. Thankfully the story that won't make the top ten is "the Christmas day bombing of Northwest flight 253," only because good luck and alert passengers prevented it from happening. Not the systems we have all assumed would protect us.
Earlier today I hopped a subway train from a station in nearby Times Square and witnessed what appeared to be a security sweep or search of the track area, presumably part of the extensive anti-terror precautions in place for tonight's ball drop . And I thought about how amid political achievements, economic turmoil, the spread of swine flu and other major events that we remember this week, the threat of another successful terror attack forms a grim, sometimes unspoken backdrop that frames the times we live in.
On Nightly News this evening we'll show you how all of this is shaping tonight's New Year celebrations.