7/20/2009

Walter Cronkite 1916-2009


One of the more iconic symbols of TV journalism, Walter Cronkite, passed away last Friday [article link] at the age of 92. He was considered the most trusted name in journalism in an age of innocence when people believed everything they heard on TV. His was a voice of reason, trust, integrity and a sense that "everything is going to be ok." A lot of people simply referred to him as "Uncle Walter" since so many felt a connection to him back in the day. And then there was that all to familiar sign off..."And that's the way it was..."

I will never forget, as a small boy, watching tears stream down Walter Cronkite's face as he read the official news report that President John F. Kennedy had died. And I will never forget the excitement Walter Cronkite showed when Apollo 11 took off for the first moon landing. How ironic is it that Walter Cronkite dies just a few days before the 40th anniversary of the first Moon Landing? It seems as poetic as when an almost equally admired journalist, Charles Kuralt, passed away on Independence Day some years back.

While I admit that Walter Cronkite's politics were practically a 180 to mine, I will always credit him with a change in opinion I had about our involvement in Vietnam. I had initially supported our time there (prior to actually going there in '71). But, when Walter Cronkite came out against the war, in commentary on CBS News, it gave me reason to pause and reconsider. I discovered he was right, but for a different reason. I felt we had gotten ourselves involved in a war we had no intention of winning. That was why I found myself in agreement with Uncle Walter. He will be missed.














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