Brian Williams, anchor and managing editor
As we continue pouring ourselves into the coverage of this tragedy, there are stories that we have aired that deserve circulation around the world. First, the awe-inspiring rescue as reported by our British partner network, ITN, and second, the work Ron Allen is doing in Haiti.
The story thread actually started on the Air Force C-17 cargo plane that carried us home—I was approached by a man who told me the story of the orphans and gave me his business card. On it he had written, "48 BABIES RESCUED/NOW SAFE BUT NO FOOD." He wanted to make sure I got the message, above the din of the engines at altitude—and he wanted to make sure we covered the story and went to the aid of those beautiful children. And that speaks to the randomness of Haiti right now. Sometimes a random encounter—a rescue squad taking a left at an intersection instead of a right—an airdrop of food and water—a weary man who spots a reporter on a cargo plane home—can make the difference between life and death. By the time we landed in New Jersey, I had emailed our de facto Haiti Bureau Chief, Madeleine Haeringer (who, as Richard Engel's producer all these years, is no stranger to living outdoors in some of the worst conditions in the world), who had started to get a crew to the story. The result will hopefully save those 48 young lives.
We have only been back from Haiti for four days, so I can easily re-capture the desperation as the new pictures and reports come in. I still have reminders buried deep in my bag. The hoarding and survival instinct kicks in—and so I still have beef jerky and other items that I zealously guarded just days ago as hugely valuable. We thought nothing of our living conditions—sleeping on the ground (in our case the concrete of the airport tarmac), barricaded against the rats patrolling the area, or in Ann Curry's case, sleeping in an Air Canada baggage container—at least it was off the ground. Nothing that happened to us mattered. Nothing. How can it? We were surrounded by death and starvation. Hell on earth.
Anything we had meant we were better off than anyone in Haiti. It can't be put any other way. I cannot stop thinking of our team on the ground—and because I know them all well: I know these are dark days and nights. Please keep all who have responded—the soldiers, sailors, Marines and Coast Guard, the rescue and relief workers, the doctors, the ordinary citizens and journalists who are telling the story to the world—in your thoughts and prayers right alongside the souls we mourn who were lost in this awful event. They did nothing wrong to deserve their fate—why they were taken away is a question for the ages.
I hope you can join us for tonight's broadcast.