Our opinion:?When we unite

There is no one at the Times Observer today who was present in what was the newsroom of the Warren Times-Mirror 50 years ago.

However, there are a few of us who are old enough to remember what newsrooms were like before they were silenced by computers. They were noisy places of clacking typewriters and incessant teletype printers that signaled each new “take” or story with one or more bell cycles, designating the importance or priority of the story that was to follow.

The Times-Mirror was an afternoon paper and the direct ancestor of this newspaper, so the news that the President of the United States had been shot in Dallas, Texas, would have reached the newsroom close to deadline, preceded by at least four bells from the Associated Press teletype. Editors never turned around for one bell, seldom for two, but three cycles or more, a “Flash” in wire terms, brought them to attention.

There would be many of them that afternoon and a front page to “tear out” and redo. The work would have been feverish.

Having been in this quieter newsroom the morning of the 9/11 attacks in New York City and Washington, three of our editors remember vividly the chaos of that day, the uncertainty, the fear, the anger. And, we can imagine the same reactions of those editors 38 years before that.

Indeed, almost everyone old enough to be cognizant of the world around them on Nov. 22, 1963, remembers the day vividly – the uncertainty, the shock, the sadness. And, as the hours passed, the sadness overwhelmed all others.

No matter what our political leanings, we watched and mourned as that fitful riderless horse preceded the horse-drawn caisson down Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington. Even the most controlled among us failed to stifle a sob or a tear as the dead president’s son saluted his father’s flag-draped casket.

For a few days in November 50 years ago, party affiliation meant little or nothing. All the differences in government were put on hold.

That’s the way it is in America. When the chips are really down – on Dec. 8, 1941, on Nov. 23, 1963, on Sept. 12, 2001 – we set aside our differences and become truly a “nation, indivisible.”