Before his astonishing on air critique and assessment of the Vietnam war in 1968, Walter Cronkite wrote in his reporter's notebook.. "Is it worth this many deaths? Is it worth this many deaths? Is it worth this many deaths?" over and over and over accompanied with source notes, meticulously analyzing the horrors of what he saw on the ground as a reporter in Vietnam, balancing his responsibility to just report the news with his own conscience, until he came to the conclusion that led him to offer his groundbreaking personal opinion from the news desk.
I admired him.
Walter Cronkite was a staple in our evening household. I've often said that nobody breathed during Carolina basketball games in my house. It was much the same with the evening news. You could not talk while daddy watched the news. The joke in our home was that because my dad shared the same first name as Walter Cronkite we would often say as kids, "Shhhh...be quiet! Daddy's on the news!" As my dad grew older he sported a grey moustache. He really does, to this day, resemble him quite a lot.
Whether you agreed with his controversial diversion from the news that night or not, I admired him for the courage to speak his mind. His voice, his calm, his composure.....will always be a part of the American journalism landscape. And I suspect, like the Walter who lived in my own house, a true hero to many.
You've lived an extraordinary life.
Images: Public domain