Saturday, July 18, 2009

And That's The Way It Is...

Walter Cronkite has died. And in no small way, a part of me went with him.

He was the first person I remember seeing on television - earlier than Captain Kangaroo, earlier than Kukla, Fran & Ollie, I remember being very, very small and sitting on the living room floor in a pair of blue Dr. Dentons watching him on a 19-inch black & white tv. My parents tell me (though I don't remember) that I always called him "my favorite son." Eerie. This was long before "The Reincarnation of Peter Proud", so the whole concept of reincarnation was pretty "out there" in New Hampshire in 1967 or 68 - but evidently I was convinced that he was my son.

One memory of him that sticks with me to this day, and will stick with me forever:

It must've been 1969 or 1970 (my brother was there, so it had to be later than 1968) I remember watching the news... and Walter was talking about the war. Over his shoulder was a graphic, showing the body count. Yup, they did that back then. Showed the number of American and "Viet Cong" casualties. I didn't get it at all, so I got myself up and walked into the kitchen where my mom was busy making dinner. I asked her what a "body count" was, and she told me. I was ready with a followup: "Well, we've killed more of them than they have of us, so does that mean we're winning?". She didn't look at me, didn't stop what she was doing, but she answered me in a voice I shall never, ever forget. She just said "sweetie, nobody's winning."

Tangential to Mr. Cronkite's passing, perhaps, but a very powerful memory that I'll always associate with him.

Requiescat in Pace, sir. You have earned it.

No comments: