When Berry Gordy of Motown records had this to say of Michael Jackson: "Michael was and will remain one of the greatest entertainers that ever lived," I would opine of Walter Cronkite that he was THE BEST journalist that has ever lived in my lifetime and the lives of millions more. He touched not only my life but the lives of millions of Americans and citizens around the world. If you are not old enough to remember his broadcasts on CBS, his reporting to this nation was similar to a State of the Union Address given by every single President of our country. He captivated all of us with his straight reporting, never interjecting any bias coming from him.
While he died at the age of 92, his death hit me harder than Jacksons. As a boomer, I grew up with Mr. Cronkite as he visited my home each and every night and was the voice of calm and most of all reason. In the age of cable and the Internet where thoughts are transmitted second-by-second, he allowed you to think of what was happening in our world. He reported the news and never became the news. That will forever be Mr. Cronkite's legacy.
In the days of Cronkite, we lived our lives instead of being addicted to information and news broadcasts either on television or the Internet. He reported what was relevant and we simply heard him report it, and moved on. I so miss those days. There was no need to hear from pundit upon pundit or others that we think important in today's broadcasts and simply moved onto the next story.
As a young child each and every lift-off into space became a magical moment when Mr. Cronkite was reporting on it, especially the Apollo 11 mission where we as a nation landed on the moon's surface. In that very moment we rose to an immense challenge whose challenger was the late President John F. Kennedy. The elation he showed while reporting on that one single event was ours as a nation. To sit in front of one's TV sets to hear the countdown of any mission captivated us all. As we all heard the voice of mission control cite, "10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 blast off" our hearts lifted up with those brave souls. Our emotions enjoined with Mr. Cronkite's in that very moment in time.
Tonight while listening to many showing their respect for this premier journalist; I heard the term icon and he was more than an icon. Walter Cronkite was an informer, a teacher and any other term one can use to fully educate us all. As I listened to many premier journalists speak in deference to this great man, I pulled my 19 year-old daughter into the living room to help her understand the significance of his passing.
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