We didn’t know Nick Berg personally, although he did work in the Washington area. And we can only begin to imagine the horror felt by his friends and family when they learned of his death in Iraq last month.
But the cowardly execution of this 26-year-old Pennsylvanian, who made his living climbing towers, brought a distant conflict home. For some of us, the news served as a sudden and uncomfortable reminder of the chaotic, violent situation that we’ve come to call “Iraq” – made more real because Berg was of “our” world.
Some on the technical side of radio first learned about Berg and his disappearance through a news release distributed by his family, asking anyone with information to help if they could. Just a few days later, the world learned he was dead and the terrible details of his killing.
In a story for the Washington Post, friends recalled a high-school freshman at band camp who impishly used scraps of aluminum foil and a Walkman to build an alarm system for his cabin to startle classmates; the type of guy who “found a niche among the science kids,” who enjoyed physics and could be seen cracking jokes on a home video at a science fair.
Like so many technically oriented people, he wanted to start his own company; and he did so, Prometheus Methods Tower Service Inc. Unlike most of us, he also spoke of going to Iraq, where he would fix communications towers and put American flags on top.
A colleague, Ed Bukont, told Radio World, “Nick served the needs of many stations in this area and helped establish low -power FM stations in various communities in Africa. … A real prince, one of the nicest decent guys you could ever meet.”
A photo of Berg appeared in national newspapers showing him working at a local broadcast convention.
This was someone we could have come across at any convention, SBE meeting or tower site. A reader of Radio World would have had something to talk about with Nick Berg.
He was from “our” world.
There’s no lesson to be learned from his senseless, cruel death. Just an empty sadness. Our thoughts are with his family, his business associates and his friends.