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Super Senior: Bob Hager - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Super Senior: Bob Hager

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WOODSTOCK, Vt. -

It's the start of a history class at Lyndon State College. Bob Hager isn't using a book, but a laptop to show images of what he's witnessed. A firsthand account of some of the most important events of the 20th century.

"Really Bob is known for more than Vietnam. He covered a lot of stuff," instructor Charlotte Albright said.

Bob was an NBC network correspondent for 35 years who traveled the world.

"The three networks were dominant. Everything was over the air, there was no cable," he said.

But his broadcasting bug got started in the Green Mountains where he grew up.

"I was in the fifth grade and had an ear ache and I had to spend much of one summer in bed," he recalled. "And I'm listening to the radio for entertainment, listening to news, listening to major league baseball games. I said, man, broadcasting is what I want to do."

In high school, Bob did radio in Rutland. But he dialed into TV in college.

Reporter Joe Carroll: Did you work at Channel 3?

Bob Hager: Oh, I worked at WCAX back before my senior year at Dartmouth. It would have been the summer of 1959. I was the weatherman. Stuart Hall hired me and he let me do the weather on air when he was on vacation.

But just before he graduated from college, he met Honore. Her friends call her Honey. It was a blind date and he proposed to her weeks later. The young couple began a journey that would last for decades.

"It was very exciting," Honey said. "We lived in Europe and we traveled through Europe when we lived there. It was exciting for our children because we put them in a German school."

The Hagers have three girls.

"Many times when he wasn't home a lot," Honey said.

They eventually settled in the Washington, D.C., area, but Bob's life on the road didn't end there. The late 1970s were a busy time for Bob. He went from the Jonestown massacre where 900 people drank poisoned Kool-Aid in a mass suicide to the Three Mile Island nuclear disaster in Pennsylvania and then to the Middle East.

"The revolution in Iran was terribly dangerous. Couple of reporters were killed," Bob said. "Some of the government has decided to get tough with the demonstrators."

On a bright September morning in Washington, Bob was heading to work when a plane hit the twin towers. Bob, at that time, was NBC's aviation expert. He quickly went to the airport to catch a flight to New York to cover the plane crash.

"I could see from the roof of National Airport-- which, of course, is right near the Pentagon-- a huge column of ugly black smoke. And I knew that another plane had crashed and sensed that were under attack," he said.

For the students at Lyndon State, Sept. 11 was their first major news event. So, when they look at Bob's work, do they realize what he's seen in history, or are they glazing over on this? 

"No, I think he's amazing," said one student.

Back in Woodstock, the 74-year-old has a room full of mementos of his career. But one stands out.

"And one day your dad said I have (a TV) up in the attic. I was so happy to get that and I always had that in my NBC office in Washington," Bob said.

Honey lived next to my parents in Rutland.

Now, Bob cultivates the soil, not a story. The couple's roots are in Vermont. It is home.

Bob hasn't completely left the broadcasting business. He recently announced the Red Bull Stratos where a man successfully jumped from a balloon at 128,000 feet.

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