I was told to shoot enough of it that we could potentially use it for a long form story known in the news world, as a package, for the 6 o'clock news. I arrived, set up my tripod, put a mic on my interview subjects, gathered some b roll, and came away with 29 clips of video.Twenty nine clips he didn't think much about, until he learned one of the three C-130 Hercules planes his new friends flew off on won't ever be coming back.
When I learned some of these airmen had died; specifically Lt Col. Paul Mikeal, a man I'd interviewed less than 48 hours ago... I genuinely had tears in my eyes. I cried... and I keep asking myself "why?".It's a normal enough question , but one that young Dustin can't believe he's asking himself. After all, doesn't constant exposure to calamity and claptrap eventually numb the senses? Not when you know the players - even if you just met them...
I shook his hand. I looked him in the eye and told him my name. I saw the confidence and genuine patriotism that he carried himself with. All before he died.A brief introduction. A kind word or two. A tenuous connection at best, but it's enough to give any old talking head the benefit of body and soul. It's something I last learned on a Randolph County highway as a group of college students I'd just interviewed held the crumpled form of a dying friend. I wish I could say the memory fades, but in truth it's one day on the job I don't ever plan to forget. It's the least I can do, and in the long run I think it will make me a better journalist and, perhaps, a better person.
Just like Dustin.