Charlie Gibson, Eyewitness to History

Gibson has traveled the world to cover breaking news for nearly 35 years.

BySadie Bass
December 15, 2009, 6:39 PM

Dec. 15, 2009— -- Charles Gibson has witnessed countless news events while on assignment for ABC News. Early on in his career, in 1975, Gibson was on the ground in Boston as the city fought to desegregate its schools. Violence erupted in the streets when the city began bussing students from different neighborhoods to schools in different counties.

In 1978, Gibson covered a protracted coal miners' strike, and then in 1979 he stepped into cover the Three Mile Island accident. The incident, in which a nuclear reactor at a plant in Pennsylvania leaked radioactive gas is the worse nuclear incident in U.S. history.

Then 1980 was consumed with the Iran hostage crisis, where 53 Americans were held hostage at the American embassy in Iran.

"So long this has gone on – 444 days," Gibson reported.

In 1990, just before the first Gulf War, Gibson spent a week in Saudi Arabia with young service members who were about to go to war – they were eager to do so.

The Northridge, Calif. earthquake hit in 1994, devastating the region and resulting in over 60 deaths.

"The quake of '94 was not the big one, but it was big enough," Gibson reported.

The Oklahoma City bombing happened on April 19, 1995, and Gibson anchored "Good Morning America" the morning after without a single script – it was two hours of ad lib.

"You know when you look at the building there are images that stick in your mind… You see the steel rods and scattered construction debris and you realize there has been a tragedy here of major proportions," he reported.

In 1995 when Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin was assassinated, Gibson traveled to the Middle East and interviewed his widow, Leah Rabin, the day after his funeral.

"There will be no Israel after this peace agreement," she told Gibson.

"She was so strong," Gibson said on tonight's "World News."

In 1999, Gibson traveled to Littleton, Colo. to cover the tragic Columbine shooting.

"Every single student here is wounded," Gibson reported. "Even those who escaped -- so close to all this – they're psychologically wounded. You can see it in their faces."

On September 11, 2001, Gibson was on the air anchoring "Good Morning America" when the planes hit. For days afterward, he and co-anchor Diane Sawyer reported for six hours each morning to give viewers the latest developments.

"It felt like the entire country was sitting around our breakfast table, everyone sharing grief," Gibson said on "World News." "There are still no words for 9/11."

In February 2003, Gibson reported on the Space Shuttle Columbia disaster, anchoring "GMA" from the Johnson Space Center in Houston.

"There is a profound sadness here in Houston and that is the thing that everyone here is still focused on," he reported. "After the Challenger disaster… [President Reagan] said it's all part of taking chances and expanding man's horizons – the future doesn't belong to the fainthearted, it belongs to the brave. Those words apply right now as well."

Moments in Time

And in 2004, a very memorable interview -- Gibson sat down with major league baseball legend Pete Rose for an interview that made national headlines.

"Did you ever bet on baseball?" Gibson asked.

"Yes I did," Rose replied. "And that was my mistake, not coming clean a lot earlier."

In April 2007 Gibson traveled to Virginia Tech to anchor "World News" after the terrible shooting.

"It won't go away, it won't," a student told Gibson. "If I close my eyes, it's there."

And in October of the same year, he traveled to Southern California where massive wildfires burned out of control.

And of course, the election of 2008. Gibson announced on ABC News that Barack Obama won, making him the first African American President of the United States.

"The great document of the United States, the Declaration of Independence says 'we hold these truths to be self evident that all men are created equal, and that was 232 years ago,'" Gibson said. "This country has not been so good in living up to that idea. Tonight we take a giant step in that direction."

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