Even though news networks around the world show us hour after hour of news footage, discussions and even current action, there are only a few news video clips that stick with us: ones that are so impactful that everyone has seen them, remembers them and every time they’re viewed, it stirs our emotions. These are the video clips that have shaped our lives, because they reflect our changing world.
1. 1945 – Bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki Video clips capture the good, the bad, and the ugly. Millions, possibly billions have seen the grainy footage of the unbelievable destruction of two large Japanese cities which marked the turning point of World War II. Although the video footage of the event showed little more than jerky images of mushroom clouds, never before had people watched such desperate power unleashed in such a destructive way.
2. 1963 – Assassination of John F. Kennedy The gunshots that left America shocked and grieving for their President on November 22, 1963 is another event that has left a definite mark on history. JFK was killed. The act, memorialized in the Zapruder film, portrayed a news moment of incredible historical significance.
3. 1969 – Man on the moon. When Armstrong took his “one small step” on the surface of the moon, millions of earthlings looked on with amazement, no matter that the visual quality is fuzzy and the audio is barely intelligible. That brief video, along with Armstrong’s historic one-liner, has shaped the way that we think of space travel, technology, and the future.
4. 1989 – Tiananmen Square Protests The still photograph of a lone protester blocking tanks advancing toward Tiananmen Square is striking enough. Even more striking is the news video footage of the same scene — the intimidating convoy of tanks rolls ominously towards the statuesque protester before grinding to a halt. This video demonstrates raw personal courage in the face of the of brutal oppression.
5. 1991 – Beating of Rodney King The Washington Times has called it “the first viral video,” with good cause. When Rodney King was ruthlessly beaten by four Los Angeles police officers was captured on video and show to all of America, a new die was cast. This was a moment of undeniable injustice, caught forever on newsreel. In spite of the fact that an amateur videographer filmed the video, it resulted in the eruption of Los Angeles and a reopening of America’s age-old race wounds.
6. 2011 – 9/11 In recent memory, few news clips are as raw, powerful, and emotive as the attack on the World Trade Center. In these scenes, now broadcast millions of times, Americans watched as their own icons of independence, their own country, and their own countrymen, were destroyed in an act of shameless brutality. These news clips live on, inspiring patriotism and defense of freedom worldwide.
The French sage Voltaire wrote, “In the case of news, we should always wait for the sacrament of confirmation.” If the past decades are any confirmation, then these news video clips are worth the honor they’ve received.