Jennifer Griffin: Mom and News Reporter Who Covered Osama bin Laden’s Death
This past Sunday, Jennifer Griffin, a Pentagon Correspondent for FOX News, was at home in the D.C. area trying to tuck her 2-year-old son into bed, when a source called to announce bin Laden’s death. Suddenly, from focusing on a child who was staying up past his bedtime, Griffin found herself focusing on confirming the death with multiple sources. She called into FOX News to report on air and then from there, drove to the Pentagon to continue more reporting for the next 24 hours. In addition to reporting on the war in the Middle East (she was there on 9/11) and national security issues, Griffin is also the mother of three young kids, two girls and one boy.
Read a first-hand account, shared with Parents.com, of how this extraordinary working mom was involved in a memorable moment in American history:
“I had just gotten home from a friend’s house with 2-year-old Luke, my youngest. It was later than his bedtime, and I was scrambling to warm him a bottle and convince him to put on pajamas. I was at the stove when all of my phones started ringing. The messages on my Blackberry made it seem like [Libyan leader Muammar] Qaddafi had been killed. I put on the TV, gave Luke a bottle on the couch, and told him to be very quiet. That’s when I got a call saying that it was Osama bin Laden, but the source said I couldn’t go [on air] with [the news] unless I got a second confirmation.
“I started dialing like mad and I had three phone lines going at once. I finally got an e-mail from a top-level intelligence source with a one word answer to my question, sent at 10:25 pm on Sunday, May 1: We got him? Dead? The response, sent at 10:47 pm, was: Yes…
“I went on air [over the phone] with Geraldo Rivera of FOX News. My fingers were shaking so badly; my thumbs couldn’t type ’Urgent’ on my Blackberry for a bureau-wide distribution of the news.
“Luke was still awake, so I bribed him with a lollipop to send him downstairs with a new babysitter who had arrived. I ran upstairs and woke up Greg, my husband. Then, I grabbed some clothes, shoved them into a bag, and ran out the door to drive to the Pentagon. I ran a few red lights down Massachusetts Avenue, past the Vice President’s house, and parked at the Pentagon. When I entered, the guards cheered: “We got him!”
“Never showering, I stayed there all night and kept reporting live until 7 pm the next day. When I called home to check on the kids in the morning, my 10-year-old daughter Annalise answered and didn’t say “Hi, Mommy.” Instead, she simply shouted, “Alleluia!” We laughed.
“When I finally left the Pentagon, I looked out at the people milling around the 9/11 Memorial. I remembered reporting on its opening three years ago. It was so calm. So somber. Even though it was a perfect spring day. I got overwhelmed with emotion and remembered exactly where I was in the Middle East on 9/11. Also, I thought back to when my family was in Jerusalem and Annalise was the same age as Luke. Often, I had to run out the door to cover a suicide bombing or terrorist attack. This time, the tables were turned; the story was how we got the world’s number one terrorist. Instead of my daughter, I had been trying to keep my son calm until I could race into work. There was a feeling of déjà vu.”
“Now I thought about how I would explain, when Luke was older, where we were when news was received about bin Laden. Even though I had to leave my girls at a moment’s notice many years before, they now understand why the work was important. Whenever I feel bad, I think of the moms and dads in the military who have to leave their kids routinely for one-year assignments. This helps me get some perspective. The only other way to appease mother’s guilt is by telling myself, One day they will understand.
“This will make a great story when they are old enough — and today was one for the history books.”Add a Comment