Sunday, July 19, 2009

Walter Cronkite

Friday morning, a friend of mine sent me a list of "do you remember when" thoughts - like, when a television had to warm up; when nobody had a pure bred dog; when no one asked where the car keys were because they were in the car and the doors were unlocked. Some of the "remember whens" were way before my time. Some were smack dab in the middle. All of them had me reminiscing - either for myself or for my parents.

And then Walter Cronkite died five hours later. And there we were, reminiscing again. Some things I knew. Some I didn't. Some clips of him are legends and I knew them already, even if I had only been two when they originally aired. Like his reaction when JFK died. Taking off his glasses.

What a contrast in portraits - Walter Cronkite's life revisited just a week or so after the Washington Post offered to sell access to reporters to the highest bidding health insurance company. But the thought of "there will never be another Cronkite" goes beyond that, doesn't it? It is about a man in an era. They are joined together. So even if another Cronkite shows up, television news will never be in its infancy again, will never be in the middle of the '60s again.

On Friday, someone showed a clip of an interview of Walter Cronkite a few years ago, asking him about his excitement about Americans landing on the moon. He said (great clip, can't find it now) something to the effect that there we were, weighed down by the Vietnam War, and we had the choice, for a moment, to look to the stars instead. That is what he gave - a 360-degree view of the way it was.

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