As David Floodstrand and his fifth-grade son Ian were walking through the Skokie Library Tuesday, they noticed some photographic lights, video cameras and commotion.
"It was a film crew from NBC setting up, and the producer explained they were going to film people's reactions to the president's speech on Syria," David Floodstrand said.
The producer invited them to participate, and they did, along with about 10 other people, watching the speech on a large screen near the northwest corner of the library's first floor.
"It was like a mini town hall meeting," David Floodstrand continued. "We watched it together, then they turned off the TV and we talked about it."
Some of the footage of Skokieans discussing their views was aired Wednesday during the 5:30 NBC Nightly News, a national broadcast, in a segment reported by Andrea Mitchell.
Ian Floodstrand, who said he is learning about film and video in his fifth-grade class at Morton Grove's Edison School in Skokie-Morton Grove District 69, had the presence of mind to ask his dad for his phone and turn on the phone's video camera.
Before the president's speech began, Ian turned the tables on the film crew by interviewing them on video as they were setting up.
"I asked my teacher if I could show my class the video, and she said sure, at pack-up time," Ian Floodstrand said Wednesday afternoon after school. "They (kids in class) had a lot of questions. They said, 'you really get to be on TV?'"
Ian acknowledged the prospect of having millions of people watching him on TV was a little nerve-wracking.
The NBC segment was actually very brief, showing only some of the participants.
Nevertheless, David Floodstrand said the group which viewed and commented had some great insight.
"The general consensus was that they don't think this (a U.S. military airstrike in Syria) is a really good idea," he said. "I understand people need help in the world but I don't think we need to be the world's policeman."
As to whether chemical weapons constitute a uniquely dangerous threat, he noted that whether a dictator commits atrocities with guns or with chemical weapons, it brings the same tragic results.
He also observed that the millions of dollars spent on military operations are dollars not going to improve the U.S. economy.
"We have millions of people out of work. The war machine is not helping them," he said.