Walter Cronkite

On July 18, 1965, my beautiful boy Michael came into the world. Just four years later, I gathered Michael and his two-year-old brother Ladd in front of our TV, then took them outside and pointed to the moon. “There is a man standing on the moon,” I told my boys. My words caught the impact of the moment.

Michael died in 1982 at age 17. I’ve thought about him a lot today, and that Walter Cronkite moment has been a part of my thoughts as NASA prepares to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the moon landing.

That moment belonged to Neil Armstrong, Walter Cronkite and me and my boys. I remember hearing Cronkite in an interview saying that was the most important story he ever reported, and “all I could say was ‘Oh, boy!’ “

I fell asleep tonight at 6, listening to another chronicler of history, James Michener. When I woke at 9:30 p.m., I came online for my daily dose of “Frodo, Keeper of the Ring.” The hobbit had chosen to write about Cronkite, I assumed in connection with the NASA anniversary. Then, as I read down throught the hobbit’s pennings, he began to write of the former CBS anchor in the past tense.

“He’s dead!” I said out loud, and backed away from the keyboard as tears began to fall.

Like Frodo, I hope I don’t have to talk with anyone for a while who is too young to remember that there once was a journalist known as “the most trusted man in America.”


Tiny said...

Ditto from Tiny. Tears won't wash away the historical events this man brought to us in all honesty as it happened. We have lost the most trusted journalist we have ever known. People turned to him every night to learn what events were happening in the world.

Tiny remembers how her breath caught in her throat and her heart raced with that first step on the moon that night. Mere words are inadequate to express that moment.

When NASA celebrates the 40th anniversary, there will be another giant of a man standing on the moon, reporting the event to a different world of people. We in the physical plane can only try to imagine how that broadcast will be.

Younger generations will never know how genuine journalists report the news. We can only hope that someday others will aspire to build such a reputable, trustworthy image for such an important profession.

As Walter would say, "That's how it is."

B.J. said...

Wonderful comment, Tiny.

When a notable dies, and certainly one who has reached age 92, print and broadcast journalism already has the obituary “in the can” and ready to go. That’s why it surprised me tonight when at CBS and NBC we had the dueling comedians after the local news.

Kudos to ABC’s “Nightline,” which had a memorable tribute.

Fox? What can they say after demonizing Cronkite over his stance on the invasion of Iraq?


Falzone for America said...

I don't know what to say B.J.

My heart is broken for us all.

God bless Walter Cronkite and God have mercy on us all.

Just one of his many contributions to this once great nation was to aide in the end of the Vietnam War. No one know how important that is to me except for me.

Papamoka said...

Walter was a good man that was known the world over for his personal integrity and ability to tell it like it was. Not inserting his opinion or spin, just telling it like it was. That is the kind of true journalism I think we all will miss and along with it our good friend we all knew as just Walter.

Little known fact for your readers BJ. Walter enjoyed his summers here in the Bay State and his door was always open for visitors and friends. Some that were famous and some that were just his neighbor. My heart felt prayers go out to his family.

Frodo, measuring time in a bottle said...

". . .some thirty eight minutes ago. . ."

B.J. said...

Thanks, Frodo. One of those phrases locked forever in our psyche. For younger readers:

"From Dallas, Texas, the flash apparently official. President Kennedy died at 1 p.m. Central Standard Time, 2 o'clock Eastern Standard Time, some 38 minutes ago."

athena said...


I bet Cronkite's passing is big for you.....Both as an American and as someone who shared a career in journalism.

I know growing up I remember hearing his voice in the background on TV.

At least he was with us for a long time!

You embody his integrity, keep his torch alive.


Bill Sumrall said...

Another great one gone. I'll always remember and appreciate Walter Cronkite for his coverage of the space program and, of course, men landing on the moon 40 years ago.

Debra said...

Amazing Man..that Walter.
And on a more personal note:
Amazing Mom and two amazing little boys--Michael & Ladd--adorable and mischevious and full of fun and adventure, and oh so bright.
Enjoyed the article.
Love, Deb