We were better off with Uncle Walter
His reassuring baritone guided us through the unspeakable assassination of President Kennedy, the assassinations of his brother, Bobby, and of the Rev. Martin Luther King, the horrors of Vietnam, the exhilaration of man landing on the moon, the resignation of President Richard Nixon . . . too many milestones in our history to enumerate.
The “most trusted man in America” represented journalism at its best and most honorable. He was the pinnacle in the profession that young journalists hoped to reach and emulate.
Walter Cronkite was not “celebrity” in the sense of today’s anchormen and women. Instead of it being all about him, it was all about the news and getting it right.
He was my hero, even though he was in broadcast journalism, not print.
He won my respect, and the respect of the nation, because he represented a standard in journalism, print or broadcast, that viewers could trust.
When I watched Tom Brokow reporting the terror of Sept. 11, 2001, I felt a measure of trust, and if it had been Brokaw’s successor, Brian Williams, I think I would have felt the same way.
That cannot be said about their peers, sadly, most especially the anchor filling Uncle Walter’s chair today at CBS. To give ink to the name would be to tarnish Walter Cronkite’s memory and legacy, and I will not dishonor him.
My respect for Walter Cronkite increased after reading his autobiography. In it, I learned he valued education to such a degree that he thought teachers who made subjects such as science and history boring to their students should be subject to criminal punishment.
As grounded as he was, the stories of his on-air glee when astronauts Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin landed on the moon are legion.
By 1969, Walter Cronkite had earned the right to a display of unchecked emotion, and if Walter was that excited, by God, the rest of us should be, too.
It’s heartbreaking to imagine how Walter Cronkite must have viewed the world he was leaving in his final days.
He left a nation obsessed with celebrity of the lowest caliber, a people consumed with all things material, a nation seemingly unconcerned with the concepts of ethics, morals, standards and any vision for the future of its people or the planet.
He may be better off without us.
But we’re not better off without him.
Mary Henkel Judson is editor and co-publisher of the South Jetty. Contact her at southjetty@centurytel. net, (361) 749-5131 or P.O. Box 1117, Port Aransas. TX 78373.