About a mile and a half away, as the Saddam statue was falling, a fierce gun battle broke out between U.S. Marines and Iraqi fighters. CBS correspondent Byron Pitts, embedded with those Marines, reported live from the middle of the shooting.
Pitts' mother, Clarice, lives in the Triangle and won't forget her son's Wednesday report for some time.
Clarice Pitts sleeps with the television set on every night, saying that she's always anxious to hear her son's voice.
Wednesday, she said the sound of her son's voice almost stopped her heart.
"It was terrible there for a little while," she said, recounting her son's eyewitness account. "To see his face and hear his voice and the sound of him in distress was devastating."
Clarice said her heart dropped when she realized her youngest son was in harm's way.
"It almost stopped working for a while to see my child, my baby," she said. "I don't know how I got through it."
Clarice said that her family and she have been glued to the television set throughout the war, watching for her son to tell his tales.
Byron's sister, Saundra Judd, said their mother was on pins and needles from Day 1.
"We got on the phone to New York and said: 'That's my baby; that's my baby,'" Judd said.
Byron Pitts has said he relies heavily on faith to get through his assignment. He said the war stories are ones that need to be told, and that there's no where else he'd rather be than on the frontline.
Copyright 2023 by Capitol Broadcasting Company. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.