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Remembering 2004

We never stopped covering the War on Terror, whether in America, Iraq or Madrid, where the train bombings shocked Europe, or Beslan, where the savagery of terrorists was on sickening display.

The takeover of a school in Russia by Chechen terrorists, who had methodically wired it to explode with hundreds of children inside, may have taken place in a faraway land. But it left Americans in no doubt that the term "evildoers" — as President Bush labeled them — would stop at nothing to make their message known.

I was at a ballgame when I got word that Ronald Reagan had died. As I excused my way past a row of fans, I explained quietly why I was leaving. Their reaction — whether man, woman, black, white, well-heeled or wearing baggy jeans — was uniform: A suddenly blank look, eyes widened in sudden unfocused memory as they pondered the man and what he had meant to them and America. And could anything have merged Reagan's political and Hollywood legacies more fittingly than his sunset burial in the hills of Southern California?

There were some other stories before the election: Martha Stewart, who had once personified at-home inventiveness, was convicted of lying to federal prosecutors about how she handled her considerable fortune. "Domestic diva" became a — to use the ironic phrase — household term (one that I banned from our air after hearing it for the 10,000th time).

Anger over the war in Iraq and George Bush's style of governing made the presidential campaign especially testy. After watching Howard Dean self-destruct on live TV, Democrats turned to a war hero, Massachusetts Sen. John Kerry, to challenge the incumbent. It was close, but fortunately for all Americans, nowhere near as close as the 2000 squeaker. Though some diehards wanted to challenge the results, Sen. Kerry's concession spared the country another painful post-election period of uncertainty.

And so, we looked forward to a year-end respite — only to be reminded that nature abides by no calendar. An underwater earthquake caused a tsunami that devastated several Asian countries. It was another instance in which we scrambled our resources to react to events in a faraway place — and succeeded. Jennifer Griffin's tearful description of the devastation she saw remains with me as a riveting piece of on-air journalism.

John Moody serves as the Senior Vice President, News Editorial for FOX News. He is responsible for both the design and editorial direction of FOX News Channel and oversees all story content for FOX News.

John Moody is Executive Vice President, Executive Editor for Fox News. A former Vatican correspondent and Rome bureau chief for Time magazine, he is the author of four books, including "Pope John Paul II : Biography."

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