America has lost a national treasure tonight. He retired when I was only four and the only time I ever had the opportunity to watch Walter Cronkite broadcast live was during the launch of the shuttle Discovery carrying John Glenn back to space in 1998. Even in his late 80s, it was obvious that this man was simply a force of nature, commanding attention even from those journalists working with him that afternoon. He defined the television news very nearly since its inception and what is means to be a class act and to deliver the news even-handedly and without bias. If you’ve never seen clips of him on the anchor desk, do yourself a big favor and watch the video of him broadcasting JFK’s assassination or the moon launch or from the bombed out streets of Viet Nam. Once upon a time, that’s the way it was and sadly will never be again.
In a world where the news cycle is brought to a grinding halt by the death of an aging pop star, I can only hope that we will pause to remember the man that literally defined what television news is all about.