My memories of DianaExactly 20 years ago today, Aug. 31, Princess Diana died in a fatal car accident in Paris.
On the morning of that tragic Sunday in 1997, I woke up to an emergency call from Newsweek. Diana Spence of the top-caliber weekly news magazine told me they decided to publish a photo-focused special edition on Tuesday even after having published that week’s regular issue a day earlier.
Waking up from a short sleep — probably for two hours — after coming back to my home in Leonia, New Jersey, I drove fast to the Newsweek headquarters at 57th St. between 8th Ave. and Broadway, New York. A number of Newsweek staff were already there.
The moment I came into my office on the 15th floor of the Newsweek building, Diana hurriedly came to me with teary greenish eyes and said, “I am so sad because Princess Diana passed away in a car crash.” I said, “Don’t be sad, Diana. Tomorrow is another day, uh?”
We spent the whole Sunday and Monday working on the production of the extra edition and preparations for the Korean edition of Newsweek.
After all the hectic moments, I invited Diana to a nice Irish pub in Lower Manhattan to console our battered souls.
After a couple of Guinness beers, she all of a sudden burst into tears. I gently told her, “Don’t be so sad about the death of Diana Spencer. We still have Diana Spence here with us!”
She looked at me for a while and smiled.
I still miss Diana Spence, the irresistibly emotional Irish staff who spent so precious a time with me throughout all the tearful — and frantic — moments at Newsweek in New York.
Good luck to Diana wherever you are!
*Opinion editor of the Korea JoongAng Daily