Ukraine war correspondent graduated from Sarasota’s Pine View School

 Ukraine war correspondent graduated from Sarasota’s Pine View School

Nolan Peterson (left), on assignment in Ukraine in 2021.

While interviewing Pine View graduate and war correspondent Nolan Peterson, he turned his camera around to show the cars outside his window in Kyiv, Ukraine, and commented that the occasional pulse of artillery or boom of missile strikes might not be audible through Zoom. He described how the tranquility of sunset at the Dnipro River in Kyiv was punctuated by the sharp, stuttered sounds of rifles, how couples out on evening walks watched clouds of smoke rise from explosions in the distance.

“It’s always more powerful to see the impact of a war on civilian life,” said Peterson, currently a senior editor at Coffee or Die Magazine. “War destroys and disrupts people’s dreams and desires and their families.” people and to talk to them, as they are in their hometown, watching a battle – it just really reinforces the overall tragedy of what’s going on here. ”

When Peterson graduated from Pine View in 2000, he never imagined himself becoming a frontline reporter in the midst of the Russian-Ukrainian war. Focused on fulfilling his dream of becoming a pilot, he attended the US Air Force Academy.

According to Peterson, he wanted to experience the thrill of adventure but didn’t necessarily want to go to war. However, after the Sept. 11 attacks, his perspective changed and he served as a US Air Force Special Operations pilot in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Friends out enjoying some sunshine on March 27, a brisk, windy Kyiv day.  Most of all, they were enjoying a new sense of cautious calm in Kyiv as the Ukrainian military continues to push back the Russian invasion.

“Having been to war as a combatant, you lose any romantic idea of ​​what war is. You don’t look at it as an adventure, you look at it more as a tragedy, ”Peterson said. “I’d say that most people who have been to war, whether as a pilot or soldier or sailor, end up becoming the most anti-war people in their lives, because they see firsthand the tragedy in the horror of war.”

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