Friday, July 17, 2009

A True Legend

When man orbited the Earth and when man walked on the moon, he was there.

He told us, one by one, that John F. Kennedy had been assassinated in Dallas.

He was there when Martin Luther King, Jr. and Robert Kennedy were assassinated.

"He covered the Battle of the North Atlantic, went along on the first B-17 bombing raid over Germany, landed with Allied forces in North Africa and waded ashore in the Normandy invasion of June 6, 1944. Later, he accompanied the Allied breakthrough at Bastogne during the Battle of the Bulge." (Washington Post)

He told us about the Vietnam Conflict, the Watergate scandal, the return of American hostages after 444 days of captivity in Iran, and covered many political conventions.

"[He] received the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation's highest civilian honor. As a special correspondent, he covered the 40th anniversary of V-E Day, the 40th anniversary of the D-Day invasion, the funeral of Egyptian President Anwar Sadat and the 25th anniversary of the 1956 Hungarian uprising." (Washington Post)

He rubbed elbows with the likes of Harry Truman, John F. Kennedy, Lyndon Johnson, Gerald Ford, Jimmy Carter, and Bill Clinton.

He was the very first "Anchorman."

He was "the most trusted man in America."

Walter Cronkite died yesterday at the age of 92.

"How can he be gone, this man who'd seen us through so many years of strife and success, progress and poverty, bold dreams and bitter backsliding?" (Washington Post)

I remember growing up watching Cronkite cover rocket launches and elections and conflicts and everything else. I can still hear his voice. He had a way of telling you what was happening and making it real - making it human. He didn't sensationalize. It wasn't his way. If it was joyous, he expressed joy. If it was tragic, he expressed sorrow. If it was wondrous, he expressed awe. He wasn't a reporter, he was part of millions of families. You could take comfort from him. No newsperson has ever risen to his level and I don't think we'll ever see another who is anything like him.

And that's the way it is. July 17, 2009.

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