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WINTER Wear: An avocet wades in the Bear River to look for a tasty snack. The bird's black-and-white winter plumage heralds the onset of cold weather. / Photo by Mike Sweeney

Today's word on journalism

Friday, November 11, 2005

On journalists during wartime (for Veterans Day):

"[I]n the news media that covered the war both overseas and domestically, journalists also were willing to cooperate and do their
part. The public did not see journalists (and journalists did not see themselves) as being against the team. Journalists were part of the team. Some, such as roving correspondent Ernie Pyle, repeatedly visited combat zones even though they did not have to do so, and they paid with their lives."

--Michael S. Sweeney, press historian, 2001 (from "Secrets of Victory," about censorship during WWII)


Answers to van crash questions may never come

By Brooke Nelson

October 1, 2005 | People are crying out for answers, but nobody seems to be finding any. In the wake of enormous tragedy -- nine lives lost simultaneously -- the search to find someone or something to blame, and a reason, any reason, is natural. But even when answers are available, we almost wish we didn't know.

Thursday night's news reports revealed the speed of the driver in Monday's tragic accident which claimed nine lives to be 95 to 100 miles per hour. Officials insist there is no possible way any of those involved were wearing seatbelts. The mechanisms were still locked into place and none of the seatbelts were broken. But parents of the two surviving students claim otherwise. What else could explain the bruises on their sons bodies? Both sides are adamant. To those looking for an absolute truth all parties acknowledge, it may never come.

The continuing investigation, however, may bring answers to other questions. More details about that fated back left tire and what may have caused it to pop are forthcoming. A clearer picture of what actually happened near Tremonton is on its way, and with it some resolution for both the Utah Highway Patrol and the university.

But for the families and friends of the deceased, does it really matter? Fiancees and wives are still left alone. Mothers, fathers, brothers and sisters still mourn. A department is still missing almost half of its peers. Students are still missing a friend and instructor.

At the candlelight vigil held in honor of those killed in the I-84 rollover, former head of the agriculture systems technology education department Gary Straquadine told students that for the first time as an educator, he felt inadequate. I can't give you an answer for this, he explained; I can find no equation to explain it and no magic formuala to make it better. His only hope for us, he offered, was that we would find hope and solace in some higher power, beyond the scope of academia, to bring some semblance of resolution to our souls. And so we have.

President Albrecht told students it was OK to cry. And so we did.

ASUSU President Quinn Millet asked as us to honor the victims lives by living out the values they exemplified. And so we are.

Evan Parker was to have received the Adviser of the Year award from his colleagues this week. Instead, he was honored in a different way. Students and faculty alike lit candles in his name and listened to songs sung in his memory.

Bind me not to the pasture, chain me not to the plow.
Set me free to find my calling and I'll return to you somehow.

These were men of the earth. Honest, hardworking and ambitious young men with so much of life ahead of them. We may never stop looking for answers -- the whys and what ifs are just too hard to escape. But time is beginning to heal the wounds of the two who survived, and time will eventually heal some the pain felt by the rest of us left behind.

If you find it's me you're missing, if you're hoping I'll return
To your thoughts I'll soon be list'ning, and in the road I'll stop and turn.
Then the wind will set me racing as my journey nears its end And the path I'll be retracing when I'm homeward bound again.


Copyright 1997-2005 Utah State University Department of Journalism & Communication, Logan UT 84322, (435) 797-1000
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