• E-mail Steve
Sept. 2, 2004 12:15 a.m.
I remember a friend of mine told me a story about her daughter. It was the first day of school, and the girl was up at five a.m., completely excited.
It was the first day of school in Russia today. I've been to first days of school in Russia. All the little kids are in their best clothes, shiny. They bring flowers for the teachers. An honor student rings a bell. One of the senior students will carry one of the new little students. The parents all
come. They stand in a square outside and watch the procession.
Today in southern Russia terrorists came and took a few hundred students, parents and teachers hostage. Gunmen on the first day of school.
"It's gotten beyond all rules," a Muscovite told me, "These bastards."
Some parents got separated from their children. Right now it is hour 14 and it is dark. The parents are still outside, waiting behind police and military lines while their children are inside with terrorists who wear suicide bomb belts. One father has already been shot trying to save his child.
I've seen a few of these big hostage takings. They don't end well. Chechens took over a hospital in 1995. They held patients up to the windows as shields. 147 people were killed. At the theatre hostage taking two years ago 129 civilians were killed. This time it is children.
In Iraq and now in Russia it is hostages. It seems to be spiraling.
I don't think this one will last long. Every day it goes on is more attention to the terrorists. Russia never has negotiated and never will.
Often the strategy is to get Special Forces in place, then attack at night. I'm sorry for those children on their first day of school.
My husband Bob, and I enjoy your news reporting so much that as soon as your name or face appears, we drop everything to hear you. You bring the news to us in such a way that it is more real. We know that terrorisn is bad, very bad and that those bastards are not doing it to retaliate, heck no they are doing it because they want to rule the world and everyone is their target.
Mercedes and Bob
Thank you for articulating what I cannot in "Hostage Takers." I studied for only a semester in Russia, but the time I spent with children and my host family now haunts me as I see their faces in those of the town and school under attack in southern Russia. I appreciate your column and its excellent writing.
Laura in Iowa.
I can't get enough of your stories. They have me engrossed every time I log on. I read every one that is available and sometimes read them twice. These stories put everything into perspective, and really show me that we live in the greatest country in the world.
Please stay safe.
Cathy (Beaver, PA)
Hey Steve -
Enjoy your blogs--I agree that you always seem to be in "harm's way," but do know that a lot of us "older military" do so appreciate your courage, resourcefulness, candor, & ability to have everyone understand that even in times of great sacrifice we have someone out there "telling it like it is!!!" Thanks for a great job---take care & stay safe.
Greetings from Florida.
You are an amazing writer and reporter. I never miss your blogs and stop everything I'm doing when you are on FOX. These last 2 days you have been reporting on the 2 planes that went down in Russia. Naturally I like everyone else suspected terrorism, and it brings back 9/11. My son has been in the Air Force for 18 years. He isn't in a war zone, but if he was, I would hope you would be there reporting the news. You are one of the few reporters that I would trust to tell it right. Thank you for your courage and your vivid story-telling. Your family must be very proud of you. I can tell you are a gentle person with a good heart.
Dear Mr. Harrigan,
I just got done reading all your writings. I have not laughed, cried or simply shook my head in such a short time, ever. Thank you for your work. We pray for our soldiers, reporters, and innocents each day.
— Cathy (Findlay, Ohio)
You are, by far, our favorite reporter. You give us, "Just the Facts" as Jack Webb used to say and we appreciate it. We have been worried about your safety several times due to war but on reading your web site (just found it) are now just as worried about the safety of your insides. Why are you eating and drinking some of the things you have mentioned in several blogs? Get checked for parasites. Have your insides checked out completely. The tea with milk? We can assume the milk was clean, refrigerated, pasturized and free of germs that cause Ungulent Fever? Gag! Please, U.S. MREs may not be the greatest, but they sure are way above what you have been stuffing down. Fasting is much better. Your folks must be very upset.
— P.J. (San Juan Capistrano, CA)
You must feel somewhat at home in Russia. I was not at all surprised to hear you were there. I was surprised when at first they just wouldn't say it was a terrorist act. I guess Russia has changed but some parts have not, and most likely won't.
The first time I saw you was in Afghanistan, and you were always crouching, bent over, or ducking. I thought you were short. Go figure! Mom still has you grounded as far as going to Iraq so just be forewarned.
As I read the mail that people send you I hope that the fact so many people really care about you comes as a comfort when you are so far away. If good thoughts can keep you safe, you will be fine.
— Donna (Kansas)
I've been an occasional reader of your blogs but just spent the morning reading through your archives. All I can say is wow. I admire your staying power. Some of the guys who were over there in Iraq with a big show during the initial stages of the war almost seem prima donas compared to you. I need to stress the almost part because it still took a lot of guts to do what they did, its just that you stand out among them.
My favorite so far was about Turbo Golf in Pakistan, with the no name restaurant a close second. I caddied a bit as a kid and can relate. You're a good man Steve, and represent us (Americans) well. If you ever get to Tulsa Oklahoma and have time to golf, Inshalla, I'll get you on Southern Hills where the U.S. Open and PGA Championship has been played several times or at the Golf Club of Oklahoma (which is nicer and more fun but not as prestigious). No ball boys or caddies, but they do have cute beer babes and a ProV1 won't cost as much as in Pakistan!
Keep safe, keep reporting, and good luck to you!
— Joe (Tulsa OK)
Steve Harrigan currently serves as a Miami-based correspondent for Fox News Channel (FNC). He joined the network in 2001 as a Moscow-based correspondent.