Past Opinion Articles

Article for the week of 7/20/09

Confessions of a Dislocated Texan

Walter Cronkite: An Image that may never be erased
By Ezra Mann (Editor in Spoof)

While the United States has never been truly innocent, there once was a time when people still believed in the possibility. Our heroes were not perfect by any means, but most of the time they accomplished something without asking much more than a thank you and a hearty handshake.
In this time when innocence seems like a forgotten dream, we look back to those who really stood out and made a difference long after they took their final bow. One of those monoliths of legend made the decision to serve as the voice of those who could not speak and those who just needed a reason to listen. Walter Cronkite may have done something as unremarkable as deliver the news, but he did it in a way that forever set a standard, which hopefully is not beyond rekindling.
I am of a generation that did not actually see Cronkite’s greatest moments in real time, but learned of them in remembrance and lecture. Even though I did not see him at first outside of historical context, I felt like he was a force driving me outside the ordinary.
Some might say that he wasn’t all that great of a role model for journalists because he would let himself get emotionally involved in a story from time to time. It is important that those delivering the written or spoken word are to be unattached, but to never let yourself react is to lose some of your humanity. Cronkite was a part of his stories, but the people were more interested in him being a part of their lives.
He was referred to as “the most trusted man in America,” a title that would be laughable for an anchor in a time where a network claims to be “fair and balanced.” People did not like him because he could out-argue his guests, but because he acted more human than even those who were supposed to represent us otherwise.
He did not demand fear and total worship, but proved that freedom of the press deserved to be respected. Those elected have always mocked and attempted to abuse coverage, but dared not rattle Cronkite’s mettle for the public that stood behind him. A president that sees the news as something that could remove them from power is someone we should be choosing above others.
From his early days on the radio where one could hear him report on WWII to the Moon Landing, he is proof that one need only push forward to experience more than just the mundane. I suppose that is why I, more than many in my age group will celebrate his influence even though he has passed from this world.
I will miss hearing his voice, but know that it will always be there in my mind whether in jest or as a motivational powerhouse. Walter Cronkite has earned more than just a moment of silence; he has earned his place forever in the annals of mankind’s greatest moments. Rest in peace, but let us not rest for he is not for the vain.

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