Watch Scott Pelley's Moving Commentary on Making Sense of Tragedy After Paris

Anchoring the CBS Evening News for a third-straight night in Paris following Friday’s deadly Islamic terror attacks, Scott Pelley concluded Wednesday’s broadcast with an emotional commentary looking back at how parents so often struggle to discuss tragedies over the past two decades with their children while some are also crippled by grief of losing loved ones in the events themselves. 

Pelley started rather simple with a few opening thoughts interspersed with pictures and video of parents with their children at various memorials set up around Paris: “This week, parents looked at the questions on the faces of their children and did their best to make sense of the senseless. How to explain? What is the meaning of life if life is lost so easily to those who hate?”

Answering his own question, Pelley determined the depressed, grim, and lost looks on the face of those in Paris were similar to those after other major losses of life in the past decade:

In Paris, we recognized each and every face. We know them. We met in Oklahoma City, in New York and Washington after 9/11, and after the last mass shooting. Familiar in every time and every place, children serene because they don't understand, parents in anguish because they can't understand.

Pelley then brought up a Paris man who had become widowed by the ISIS terrorists and how he reacted to Friday’s events in a Facebook post on Wednesday: 

Today a Parisian, Antoine Leiris, found his answer. His wife, who he called the love of his life, was killed Friday, leaving him to write a letter to the terrorists for himself and his 17-month-old son. “You will not have my hatred,” he told the killers. “This little boy will insult you by being happy and free.”

The CBS Evening News anchor and managing editor stated that Leriris’s post “reminded us of Viktor Frankl, the psychiatrist who endured Auschwitz-Birkenau” as he lost “[t]he love of his life....in the death camps.”

Excerpting a letter by Frankl, Pelley continued:

“Everything can be taken from a man but one thing,” Frankl wrote, “the last of the human freedoms to choose one's attitude,” or, as Antoine Leiris put it today, “we are two, my son and I, but we are stronger than all the armies of the world.”

While it (not surprisingly) did not touch on faith, God, or the threat os radical Islam, it was nonetheless thought provoking and deep for a member of the liberal media as Pelley concluded: “The search for an explanation leaves us with silence until we search inside. In these times, don't ask the meaning of life. Life is asking, what's the meaning of you?”

The relevant portion of the transcript from the CBS Evening News with Scott Pelley on November 18 can be found below.

CBS Evening News with Scott Pelley
November 18, 2015
6:56 p.m. Eastern

SCOTT PELLEY: This week, parents looked at the questions on the faces of their children and did their best to make sense of the senseless. How to explain? What is the meaning of life if life is lost so easily to those who hate? In Paris, we recognized each and every face. We know them. We met in Oklahoma City, in New York and Washington after 9/11, and after the last mass shooting. Familiar in every time and every place, children serene because they don't understand, parents in anguish because they can't understand. Today a Parisian, Antoine Leiris, found his answer. His wife, who he called the love of his life, was killed Friday, leaving him to write a letter to the terrorists for himself and his 17-month-old son. “You will not have my hatred,” he told the killers. “This little boy will insult you by being happy and free.” The letter reminded us of Viktor Frankl, the psychiatrist who endured Auschwitz-Birkenau. The love of his life was lost in the death camps. “Everything can be taken from a man but one thing,” Frankl wrote, “the last of the human freedoms to choose one's attitude,” or, as Antoine Leiris put it today, “we are two, my son and I, but we are stronger than all the armies of the world.” The search for an explanation leaves us with silence until we search inside. In these times, don't ask the meaning of life. Life is asking, what's the meaning of you? 

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