Usually, a journalist will toil over the perfect words to say to capture the essence of a breaking story or a tragedy that just occurred. Sometimes, we reporters fall too "in love" with our own words and forget what we're trying to get across.
The one man who I'm sure many, including me, have aspired to be, seemed to always have the right words. It may be because he would simply state the fact, "president Kennedy died at 1p.m. Central standard time." By simply taking off his glasses, pausing and letting his own human self take in the darkness of what just happened, Cronkite walked America through one of its darkest hours.
And, with simply sighing and laughing on air, Cronkite showed the excitement of the nation as the U.S. Put the first man on the moon.
Such historic events were before my time, but, as a kid, I remember seeing snip-its of those moments, and it was Cronkite's narrative that made me aspire to be a journalist. I wanted to be in his shoes, sitting on the side, watching history happen and be the first to tell others about it.
The news that Cronkite had passed away affected many of us here at Channel 10 and brought back such memories.
But, with such fond memories comes sorrow though. The passing of "the Most Trusted Man America," makes me question where my own generation is headed.
Such a title holds the biggest honor and show of respect. I ask myself, "can I really think of anyone that I would call the most trustworthy person I know. As a journalist, it is hard to observe an industry that has turned news stories into short 45 second soundbytes and cable shows riddled with political commentary. Will we have another Walter Cronkite come from this next generation of reporters and anchors? While I hold deep respect for Katie Couric, Charlie Gibson, Brian Williams, and our own Gordon Collier and Julie Hays, those news leaders have shown humility with the passing of such a great man.
Then, as I continue to write this, I have learned about the death of another inspiration, Pulitzer-Prize Winning author, Frank McCourt. He is the author of my favorite books, Angela's Ashes and Teacher Man. McCourt, who came to the U.S from Ireland, was able to share his life in one of the most eloquent forms of writing in this modern period. I encourage anyone who feels they haven't read a classic, pick up his books.
Out of all these thoughts, comes hope though. In all periods of our nation's history, we have seen leaders born out of turbulent times. When I was editor-in-chief of The Baylor Lariat in college, I once wrote this in a March 2005 column.
"Even the most heroic or historic events in my generation have merited only what one called "one second of fame." Will our generation be no more than sound bytes? Will breakthroughs seem so minute? But I'm no pessimist. We shall have those Martin Luther King Jrs. and our own Roosevelts. We shall overcome our pampered past. But to get there, leaps must be made -- free falls without nets. And in those moments when we land on our feet with people cheering, we must be brave -- and if we are, perhaps, we will be remembered for all time."
Those are my thoughts, a little "wordy", but I hope Walter Cronkite and Frank McCourt would be proud.