July 28, 2014

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Saved By The Wall

Getting out of the heat...seeking the closest shade I could find.

By now, people are learning that I had to be treated after being overcome by the heat last Friday.

It all happened at the official opening ceremonies for the Vietnam Veterans Traveling Memorial Wall, which was held in near-extreme heat (and, more importantly, humidity) September 2nd.

I have toughed it out through heat many times in my career shooting stories and video out in the field, but this time, the heat got the better of me.

The ceremony had barely begun when I began to feel overheated.  Worse yet, I began to feel nauseated.  Earlier in the day, I had heard Andrew Card, former president George W. Bush's chief of staff, tell the story of how Bush's father, who was president at the time, became ill during a visit to Japan in the early 1990's, and feared a similar public incident.

I quickly called the station and said I needed relief...covering the story, that is...and I retreated to the only shade nearby...in the shadow of the wall itself. I actually began to feel better, sitting in the shade and getting some water. I was visited by a paramedic who escorted me to their nearby complex to examine me.  Their main concern was my blood pressure at the time.

Within 45 minutes, I was in Camden Clark Medical Center's Memorial Campus, where I spent the next 22 hours while tests were run on me before I was released at noon Saturday.

Over the nearly 30 years that the Vietnam Memorial Wall and its replicas have been in existence, there have been some incredible stories about the names on the wall and the people who come to see it.

But how many involve a reporter who found relief from a blistering hot day there?

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