A lot has been made by my friends about the President’s visit to my high school in Nashville, McGavock on Thursday. I have called it the greatest school ever and now, everyone knows. Joking of course.
As the President was speaking in the gym, it brought back memories of the last time I was in that gym. Not for school. Not in school. At the time, I didn’t know but came to find out later, it was a matter of national security. Not kidding.
It was Sunday night, May 2nd, 2010 and the city of Nashville was under water. Literally. It had started raining that Saturday morning and for 36 hours, it didn’t stop. I was working at WKRN in sports but that weekend, everyone was a news reporter.
I got a call around 6 pm from our newsdesk that Opryland
Hotel, that giant hotel, was going to evacuate because the Cumberland river might go over its banks and flood the hotel.
Never! That will not happen I thought, but after I got it confirmed from a source, I headed to the hotel. Just like clockwork, we show up, the only news crew at the time there and get video of people evacuating.
“I am not supposed to tell you this but they are moving all of the guests to McGavock high school, ” a person with the hotel told me, ” and there are some very important people with them too.”
So we headed to McGavock and got all kinds of video of people getting off the buses and walking into the high school. Then a few more buses arrive and all of those folks were sent into the gym where the President spoke on Thursday. I thought it to be odd that they were sent there and not into the cafeteria, like the rest of them, so my cameraman and I went to the gym and took all kinds of video of the people in the gym. What caught my eye were the ones wearing military uniforms. Military uniforms? Again, this is kinda peculiar mainly because they looked pissed off and were none too happy I was there getting video.
We do a couple of live shots for the news and after I get done with the last one, my phone rings and it is the newsdesk telling me that I cannot show anyone that was in the gym and that video had to be taken off the air. Almost immediately, two very intense guys walked up to me at the high school and asked me to destroy the video or give it to them.
Oh no, I will not do that unless you tell me why.
“Sir, it is truly a matter of national security.” Dear God, I laughed. They, did not.
“This is not a joke. There are some very high ranking intelligence people in that gym who do not need to be on TV.”
Evidently, at the hotel, there was a huge, I mean
huge convention, that was going on involving the latest in hi-tech spying and all of that James Bond stuff. And when they evacuated everyone, they didn’t make everyone leave. One of the people in the gym told me that while all left, there were some “serious looking dudes” who stayed behind guarding whatever was so important at that hotel. (Of course, everyone denied it was all there, even the hotel. Smart move.)
Evacuating everyone was a great idea because the river flooded the hotel like no one could have ever imagined. It stayed closed for nearly 18 months.
So when I saw Obama walk into my old high school gym, I immediately was taken back to that night on May 2nd and into the morning of May 3rd when other high ranking officials were in that same gym, but for completely different reasons.
Ahh, in the interest of national security. Of course, we think of this guy when we hear that.