Tonight Ann Curry anchors "Nightly News" -- check out her behind-the-scenes tour of the studio.
Tonight Ann Curry anchors "Nightly News" -- check out her behind-the-scenes tour of the studio.
The class of 1943 graduated during World War II, and chose to serve their country instead holding a senior prom. Seven decades later, they reunited for the dance they never got to have. NBC's Rehema Ellis reports.
It took seven decades, but the Hillhouse High School Class of 1943 finally had its senior prom.
Prom for the members of the Greatest Generation was cancelled 70 years ago when the young men in the Connecticut school — and across the country — were called on to go defend the United States during World War II. But as of Sunday, May 19, the high school rite of passage was no longer something these former high schoolers had to live without.
Grace Duffy dances with her stand-in date Dave Lenahan at the Hillhouse High School class of 1943 reunion and prom.
When it's a senior prom for senior citizens, the rules are different. First of all, the event started at noon, everyone could drink alcohol, and the dress code was, well, comfortable.
Many were dropped off not by their parents, but by their children.
And with attendees now in their late 80s, dancing was left to only the most adventurous souls.
Honey Pegnataro, right, shares a toast with some of her classmates at the Hillhouse High School class of 1943 reunion and prom.
Members of the Class of '43 say they did not feel cheated when school administrators told them to stop planning their prom so many years ago. Rather, they felt it was they were fulfilling their responsibility as Americans.
"Our country had been attacked, and we felt very strongly that whatever we did to support our country, we would do," said 87-year-old Marilyn White Unger. "So we didn't feel any sense of personal loss, because the boys were fighting."
Unger helped plan the reunion/prom, along with Anthony Pegnataro, 87, then class president who served in Guam and Okinawa during the war. Some of their classmates never came back from the war, and even more have perished in the years since.
"I open the paper every morning, I look at the obituary page and I see two or three more classmates that have gone up to their maker," said Pegnataro.
Marilyn Unger pins on her corsage at the Hillhouse High School class of 1943 reunion and prom.
He estimates that of the 1,250 members of their graduating class, prom organizers have only been able to get ahold of about 10 percent of them. The group has been getting together every five years since 1946.
And like nearly everything else about this prom, he did it the old fashioned way -- no Facebook, just phone calls.
Just as if the prom had been held during the 1940s, on Sunday the group danced to the likes of the Glen Miller band. Though the music may have been the same, but the moves were different -- with some prom goers in wheelchairs.
"Time's running out on all of us. Ya know, how many more years do we have?" said Pegnataro. "And we want to enjoy every year we got."
Honey and Tony Pegnataro
This story was originally published on Mon May 20, 2013 4:36 PM EDT
One hundred pages of emails were passed out by the White House Wednesday as the Obama administration tried to put an end to the long simmering dispute over what took place when the American compound in Benghazi was attacked. NBC's Peter Alexander reports.
Under increasing scrutiny from congressional Republicans, the White House on Wednesday released copies of emails and other additional supporting documents related to its response to last fall’s attack on a U.S. diplomatic post in Benghazi, Libya.
The White House released the materials in the wake of Republicans’ clamor for more information about how the Obama administration crafted its explanation for the incident, which came at the height of last year’s campaign season, and resulted in the deaths of four Americans, including U.S. Ambassador Christopher Stevens.
The emails convey different parts of the administration -- the White House, the State Department, and the CIA -- trading drafts of talking points for use not just by representatives of the administration, but also by members of Congress.
From the very first draft, the talking points included references to "Islamic extremists" who might have participated in the attack.
The most significant changes involved removing references to Ansar al-Sharia to not hinder the investigation into the attack, and changing reference to the Benghazi location to a "mission" or "diplomatic post," rather than a consulate.
Those talking points, though, were subjected to scrutiny and a series of tweaks from different agencies to ensure the talking points did not get out in front of investigators, who did not yet appear to have a full grasp of the underpinnings of the attack at that point.
The documents released by the White House indicated that then-CIA Deputy Director Michael Morell voiced similar concerns to those from State Department officials and that the same intelligence analysts who drafted the original talking points were comfortable with the language included in the edits, NBC's Peter Alexander reported.
On page 95 of the documents released Wednesday, an email appears to show that then-CIA Director David Petraeus wasn't completely sold on releasing the talking points, writing: "No mention of the cable to Cairo, either? Frankly, I'd just as soon not use this, then ... NSS's call, to be sure; however, this is certainly not what Vice Chairman Ruppersberger was hoping to get for unclas use. Regardless, thx for the great work."
A congressional hearing last week, where whistleblowers took issue with the administration’s initial explanation that the attacks were the spontaneous outgrowth of an unrelated protest (and not a terrorist attack) gave rise to new demands for more information from the administration.
Republicans took the emails as a validation of their criticism of the White House for making more changes to its talking points than the administration had originally let on.
“The seemingly political nature of the State Department’s concerns raises questions about the motivations behind these changes and who at the State Department was seeking them. This release is long overdue and there are relevant documents the Administration has still refused to produce,” said Brendan Buck, a spokesman for House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio. “We hope, however, that this limited release of documents is a sign of more cooperation to come.”
President Barack Obama has dismissed Republicans’ interest in the administration’s evolving explanation for the attack as a “sideshow,” as recently as this Monday.
“The whole issue of talking points, frankly, throughout this process has been a sideshow,” he said. “What we have been very clear about throughout was that immediately after this event happened, we were not clear who exactly had carried it out, how it had occurred, what the motivations were.”
Underlying Republicans’ interest in the Benghazi matter – at which they’ve kept now for six months – is a suspicion that the administration clouded the reality of the attack so as to not damage Obama’s prospects for re-election.
“The president ran out the clock and he won the election,” Sen. Lindsey Graham, S.C., a chief Republican critic of Obama’s on Benghazi, said Tuesday on Fox News. “He was able to get Benghazi behind him in terms of electoral politics, but it won't go away.”
Meanwhile, U.S. government officials said investigators have identified a person who played a central role in the attack in Benghazi, and that federal criminal charges against that person will soon be made public. The person to be named in the charges is not yet in U.S. custody, one official said.
Word of that progress in the investigation followed a statement by Attorney General Eric Holder, who told the House Judiciary Committee Wednesday that the Justice Department has taken "definitive, concrete action" to bring people to justice who were responsible for the attack.
"We have been aggressive and we are in a good position. Definitive action has been taken," Holder said, though he declined to be more specific.
"We will be prepared shortly to reveal what we have done," he said.
NBC News' Pete Williams and Jonathan Dienst contributed to this report.
This story was originally published on Wed May 15, 2013 5:01 PM EDT
Orchard Gardens, a school in Roxbury, Mass., had been plagued by bad test scores and violence -- but one principal's idea to fire the security guards and hire art teachers is helping turn it around. NBC's Katy Tur reports.
Do you know any people or programs that are helping your community in a brilliant way? NBC Nightly News wants to hear about their innovative ideas. Use the hashtag #BigIdea @nbcnightlynews to tell us how they are tackling the challenges that exist in our world and providing solutions.
Check out an example below -- this Big Idea aired on Nightly News April 25:
Up to one in four children in America have an undiagnosed vision disorder. An eye surgeon says he's found a better way, a revolutionary new exam. NBC's Diana Alvear reports.
Your ideas may be featured online -- or on our broadcast.
Vernon Matthews / Commercial Appeal / Landov
Photographer Richard Copley in Memphis on March 18, 1968. In his first paid job as a photographer, Copley was sent to the Mason Temple, where the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. rallied a large crowd of sanitation workers. It was the same location where King would later deliver his famous "Mountaintop" speech.
Photographer Richard Copley with the Rev. Cleophus Smith, who was a young man when he participated in the sanitation workers' strike in 1968.
By Christina Caron, NBC News
Richard Copley was just 22 when he got his first paid job as a photographer. But that assignment propelled him into one of the most significant historical events of the 20th century -- and his career.
“I had no idea what I was stepping into,” he told NBC News during his first media interview from his home in Fisherville, Tenn. “I guess the biggest story of my life and ironically the first.”
As the photographer for the American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) union, Copley was initially asked to attend the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.’s March 18, 1968, speech in Memphis, Tenn., (pictured above) where the civil rights leader spoke to thousands of sanitation workers who were fighting for better pay and improved safety standards after two Memphis garbage collectors were crushed to death by their truck’s trash compactor.
The most famous of Richard Copley's sanitation strike photos featured the iconic "I Am a Man" posters carried by striking members of Memphis Local 1733 during the march led by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. on March 28, 1968.
King promised to come back and lead a protest across the city, and on March 28, he did. At the march Copley captured what is now his most famous image: the sea of signs reading, “I Am a Man.” It didn’t take long, however, for things to turn violent.
“You could hear the glass breaking.… I knew all hell was breaking loose. I will have to say it was exhilarating and terrifying all at once,” said Copley, who got pepper-sprayed during the event.
The National Guard arrived in Memphis on March 29, 1968, after the sanitation workers' strike turned violent.
King was quickly pulled out of the protest as the violence escalated, and the next day the National Guard showed up.
“It was frightening – it looked like a war zone. It was just a show of force, obviously, and ... in my mind it was overreaching. But on the other hand you have to consider the time – it was 1968, and there had been riots in other cities, so I’m sure the 'powers that be' thought it was necessary,” Copley said.
During the peaceful march held on March 29, Copley shot the image that would become his favorite, the one he called “Dignity”: a photo of two men holding poster boards in their best Sunday attire.
That combo of their formal dress and “the stern looks on their faces” has always stood out in Copley’s mind, he said.
Sanitation workers the Rev. Theodore Hibbler, left, and Ted Brown march in downtown Memphis on March 29, 1968, the day after the famous sanitation strike march led by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was shattered by violence.
King returned to Memphis on April 3 and was assassinated the following day from the balcony of the Lorraine Motel.
The King family at the April 8, 1968, memorial march for the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., which was attended by an estimated 42,000 people and led by his widow, Coretta Scott King.
Now, 45 years later, the 67-year-old photographer still has a camera in his hand. Now, though, instead of a 35mm, he shoots video in 1080i HD. As a freelance photographer, his work has appeared on several network news broadcasts, including "Nightly News with Brian Williams."
Although he has covered several major events such as 9/11 and Hurricane Katrina, Copley says his most memorable assignment was in Memphis in 1968.
“What these men did was incredible,” he said. “They were courageous. This was 1968, … and to do what they did makes them heroes.”
During the April 8, 1968, memorial march to honor the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., who had been shot four days earlier, Richard Copley captured this image of a white man holding an African-American child. Labor groups from all over the country showed up to pay tribute to the Memphis workers and King.
It's been 45 years since Martin Luther King Jr. was killed after coming to Memphis, Tenn., to support the sanitation workers' strike. Two of the men who demonstrated in the streets that day spoke with NBC's Ann Curry about their fight to make a better community for their families.
The predictions from European computer models, which have 10 times the computing ability of the National Weather Service, have increasingly become more accurate than our models with the starkest example being Hurricane Sandy. NBC's Al Roker reports.
A volunteer group made up of mother's called "Moms Bloom" in Grand Rapids, Michigan, gives help and support to new mothers. NBC's Mara Schiavocampo reports.
By Joo Lee, Producer, NBC News
It's crazy. It's nonstop! I feel like it's a marathon." That's how Raechel Morrow, a mother of toddler twins and a newborn describes life as a stay-at-home mom. Sound familiar?
When we met Morrow and her adorable little trio one morning in late October, I had just finished drinking my first coffee of the day. Watching her play with her children, read, feed, hold, soothe, change and chase them... two hours later, even I wanted to take a nap! The caffeine in my cup was no match for their boundless level of energy.
"It's really hard. That's the truth," Morrow said with a laugh.
"Everybody wants to pay attention to the baby but mom is the one who really needs the support, often times," Sara Binkley-Tow said.
Five years ago, Binkley-Tow founded a non-profit called Moms Bloom in Grand Rapids, Michigan. It's a program that provides free help for new moms. They conduct full background checks and offer training to their volunteers. It's not a babysitting service. It's about nurturing moms during the first few months of a newborn's arrival so they can nurture their children.
Binkley-Tow calls her group "the extended family for the 21st century."
Raechel Morrow's closest relatives live three hours away. Her husband works during the day. Moms Bloom connected Morrow with volunteer Becky Brink, a retired teacher who has two adult children of her own. Brink visits Morrow once or twice a week.
"I'm usually playing with the kids while mom gets the laundry done or takes a nap," Brink said.
Brink is not just an extra set of hands, she is also a supportive and listening ear.
"If the mom's not healthy and balanced, the mom can't take care of the family," Morrow said.
She says that having Brink there "means the world."
As I write this, I'm thinking of my sister, a mother of two small boys who lives 3,000 miles away. I wish there was a Moms Bloom in every town.
The history of the Gatorade shower tradition from some of the people who created and experienced it.
By Allison Flicker, NBC News
At the end of a football game, players are usually covered in mud, dirt and grass stains. A football coach, however, hopes to be covered in just one thing – Gatorade.
The Gatorade shower is an iconic sports tradition on playing fields across the country.
“Hey, forget the medals and the letter sweater,” Chicago Bears defensive lineman Dan Hampton said. The “universal sign of achievement” is dunking the coach.
The tradition first started with Hampton and the 1984 Chicago Bears.
“When I dumped it on [Coach Mike] Ditka, you could see him fighting it off, and he had no idea,” Hampton said. “You have to remember, this was the first time that it had ever been attempted.”
Two years later, the New York Giants made the new practice a tradition. Their coach, Bill Parcells, was very superstitious, so as they continued to win, they continued to dump Gatorade on him.
“He knew it was coming from somewhere,” Giants linebacker Harry Carson said. “He just didn't know exactly where, or if I was going to be wearing my uniform, or somebody's coat, or somebody's hat, but he knew it was coming.”
Carson said the Gatorade shower isn’t to parade a win over the opposing team.
“You know, doing it, wasn't so much about rubbing it into the face of our opponent,” Carson said. “It was a symbol of love and affection that we had for our coach.”
Indianapolis Colts Coach Tony Dungy soaked in tradition.
“I really wasn’t expecting it but it’s a good feeling to know that you’ve accomplished something that they players feel is worthy of pouring the bucket on you,” Dungy said.
When asked if he had ever tried to buck the tradition, Dungy said he hadn’t.
“No, not at all. Because you know once you get over that initial shock of being so cold you realize, ‘Hey, these guys believe we've done something special.’ The overall feeling that, wow, we've accomplished something unique,” Dungy said.
Miami Dolphins Coach Don Shula, however, was not such a fan.
“[It] didn't have a lot of class to it,” Shula said. “And I'd prefer to be carried off the field.”
Shula, though, knows the technique for a proper Gatorade shower.
“Somebody will come around to get the coach's attention and talk to them seriously about something that's going on the field,” Shula explained. “So now the coach has to give that player all of his attention. And then the Gatorade comes and dunks him.”
The Giants’ Carson said he made sure his coach had removed his headset before dousing him.
“What I wanted to do was get the Gatorade on his head, not on his neck,” Carson said. “I wanted to see it really splash down from the heavens from the top of his head, to cover the whole upper half of his torso.”
Almost three decades later, the Gatorade shower is a symbolic part of any athletic victory celebration – especially on the football field.
“Somebody had to be the first one to put the star on top of the tree, right?” Hampton said.
So who will get the Gatorade shower at Super Bowl XLVII?
“I'm going to go out on a limb and say it’s going to be Coach Harbaugh,” Hampton said jokingly.
Carson did not offer a prediction but did offer some expert advice to the winning players and coach.
“If that coach is getting dumped, he should be thrilled and extremely happy that he is getting dumped because losers don't get dumped,” Carson said. “Just let that coach feel the exhilaration of winning.”
About 1,500 police officers are fanning across New Orleans ahead of the Super Bowl on Sunday – the city's first Super Bowl since Hurricane Katrina more than seven years ago. NBC's Janet Shamlian reports.
The Department of Education released new guidelines on how to integrate students with disabilities into sports —which has been a struggle for cash-strapped schools. NBC's Rehema Ellis reports.
By Erica Ayisi, NBC News
Adam McGouirk is 13 years old. He’s in the 8th grade and like many middle school students, he loves sports.
Adam has been playing basketball and handball for a few years now, despite having spastic cerebral palsy. Spastic cerebral palsy affects Adam’s lower extremities impairs his movements, coordination and balance. His neurological condition makes it challenging for him to join his school’s sports teams -- but that will change next school year, as the Department of Education recently announced new guidelines for integrating students with disabilities into school sports.
Secretary of Education Arne Duncan stated on his blog, “We make clear that schools may not exclude students who have an intellectual, developmental, physical, or any other disability from trying out and playing on a team, if they are otherwise qualified.”
The guidance states that “the law does not require that a student with a disability be allowed to participate in any selective or competitive program offered by a school district, so long as the selection or competition criteria are not discriminatory.”
Adam plays sports for a private league. Shooting hoops has made him stronger and could help him playing at school with his friends.
“It would be a wonderful experience for schools,” Adam said. “They want to just play sports and be supportive.”
Since Adam started playing basketball for the Henry County Hurricanes, his upper body strength has increased immensely -- at times he’s able to get around with just a cane. His coach, Harlon Matthews, is in charge of wheel chair sports and he agrees. Matthews says Adam is making strides physically and socially. He says students like Adam just want equality.
Coach Harlon would know – he too is in a wheelchair.
Courtesy McGouirk family
Adam McGouirk plays basketball and handball.
“We don’t want anything above and we don’t want anything below,” Matthews said. “I don’t want anything extra-just help these kids be a part of something that’s very meaningful and impactful for their lives.” Questions remain, however: How much will it cost schools to integrate students with disabilities? Will this directive include students with both cognitive and physical disabilities? Nevertheless, students and parents are looking forward to the changes.
Bryan McGouirk, Adam’s father, hopes this directive will give more voice to students with disabilities. “Some people seem to have the misunderstanding that kids with disabilities are going to be placed into some regular athletics and that’s not we’re looking for at all,” McGouirk. “We’re looking for a separate and defined program that our kids can compete in.”
As a result of coverage on 'Nightly News,' three nonprofits are reporting that they received far more donations than normal. NBC's Katy Tur reports.
Three organizations profiled during NBC Nightly News' Making a Difference series said they've raised far more in donations that they typically do as a result of Nightly's coverage. If you'd like to take a look at the original stories, we've re-posted them below along with links to the organizations' websites.
One Simple Wish is an organization that grants wishes to foster children.
An organization called One Simple Wish has granted the wishes of more than 3000 foster children, providing a small piece of joy to kids still in need of a permanent family. NBC's Anne Thompson reports.
The Starkey Hearing Foundation assists those with hearing loss.
Stephanie Montalvo has been legally deaf since birth, but the 15-year-old is now able to hear -- thanks to an organization that helps kids get hearing devices their families would not ordinarily be able to afford. NBC's Chelsea Clinton reports.
And the Graybeards are raising money for the victims of Hurricane Sandy.
A group of firefighters, cops, executives and others who have made it their mission help even when they're off duty, are raising money for the victims of Hurricane Sandy. NBC's Katy Tur reports.
Those who lost their homes during Hurricane Sandy are salvaging what they can from the wreckage, and trying to stay afloat financially as they cope with the aftermath of the storm. NBC's Ann Curry reports.
In case you missed it, last night on "NBC Nightly News" Ann Curry visited residents of Staten Island who are still suffering in the wake of Hurricane Sandy. If you would like to help any of the families mentioned in the report, please click on the links below to learn more.
Kyle Miller hasn’t been around long enough to have much of his own history, but at 16, he’s deeply involved in the military history that others created.
When he was 12, Kyle, a Boy Scout, joined a group for World War II veterans. He was so fascinated by their stories that he became their archivist. Now he’s taken on an even bigger task to make certain their stories are around forever.
Three WWII veterans tell how they fulfilled their duty to country.
“At the beginning it would seem kind of strange to befriend somebody who’s three-quarters of a century older than me. But, when you really start talking to them, you realize they’re no different than you are,” he said.
Kyle’s great-grandfather fought in the Battle of the Bulge, a major German offensive in France, Luxembourg and Belgium during the winter of 1944-45. He died when Kyle was 4-years-old. Being around veterans, Kyle said, he gets to experience what his great-grandfather might have shared with him.
“I realized what heroes they truly are, how much they sacrificed for their families, their country and for people like me,” he said.
To honor them, this young man from Pickerington, Ohio got the idea to collect the stories of 1,000 veterans of World War II and post them on a website he designed with his father, who is also his Scout leader.
The project is called Voices from the Front. The project will also help him the attain the highest Boy Scout rank, Eagle Scout, which requires he demonstrate leadership while carrying out a community service project. He will also earn academic credit from his mother, who homeschools Kyle and his four siblings.
“There are a lot of books out there that have captured a lot of stories but there’s a lot we don’t have, so this project is to get and capture more of the stories before the veterans die,” Kyle said. “There are always stories out there that we’re missing.”
Among them, he said, stories about what was going on at home while the men were in battle.
“You can always read about the battle strategy, but you don’t get the real personal aspect of it,” he said. “From the wives and people at home, all the way to the support units, and then onto the combat units. We want to capture all those stories to hear all those perspectives.
With the help of volunteers, Kyle hopes to reach his goal of 1,000 voices by next fall. Meanwhile, Kyle has a new goal: To finish a book about veterans of the Battle of the Bulge.