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Carol Marin, the political editor of WMAQ in Chicago and a Chicago-Sun Times columnist, was in New York City on September 11, 2001, in the vicinity of the World Trade Center as the second tower fell. In this clip, she talks about that experience and the firefighter who saved her life. Although she is reluctant to relive that experience, I think the clip is well worth listening to.
A couple of observations here. If you’re not familiar with Carol Marin, she is an outstanding journalist – one of a handful of local reporters who are the real deal. She’s been covering the MMA-like world of Chicago and Illinois politics for years and I think it’s safe to say that everyone who’s familiar with her work holds her in high regard. By way of example but not limitation, Carol Marin might be best known for quitting her job as an anchor of WMAQ’s 10 p.m. newscast in 1997 to protest the station’s hiring Jerry Springer to provide occasional political commentary – a move that demonstrated the kind of journalistic integrity she’s always epitomized. (To his credit, her co-anchor, Ron Magers, also quit in protest; he’s now an anchor at WLS in Chicago.)
Also, it so happens that on the afternoon of September 11 I was in my car listening to a local radio station, WXRT, when they reached Carol Marin by telephone from New York and talked to her about what she had experienced. This was within a few hours of the second tower’s collapse, and you could tell from the tone of her voice how upsetting it had been, and how grateful she was to have survived. That really stuck with me over the years, and listening to her story again reminds me just how eerie everything felt that afternoon.
One more personal note. I ran into Carol Marin – almost literally – a few weeks after September 11 while running my first Chicago Marathon. It was October 7, 2001, to be precise (which happens to be the day the invasion of Afghanistan officially began), and it’s a pretty un-glamorous story, inasmuch as it involves a desperately needed bathroom break just about a mile and a half into the race where the first port-a-potties were located … But the point is, we both happened to be exiting the (ahem) rest stop at about the same time, and so, like the shameless goof I am, I introduced myself to her and we ran together for a block or so, chatting briefly about that that awful day. She was every bit as unassuming as she is in the video clip above, expressing her gratitude for the firefighter who kept her out of harm’s way. I said something to the effect that I was glad and relieved she was okay – which was true – but I’m sure it sounded completely trite. Nonetheless, she was really gracious about it, and I’ve always appreciated that.
Anyway, it’s a minor thing, to be sure, but it’s one of those indelible memories from September 11 and the weeks that followed.
And before you ask, I have no idea if she finished ahead of me, or I finished ahead of her. I’m pretty sure neither one of us won the race, though.