Friday, July 17, 2009

Walter Cronkite Passes away into the Ages

As we celebrate the 40th anniversary of America's first Moon landing this week, one iconic voice from those television broadcasts was silenced this evening, forever to be remembered as the most trusted man.

Television newsman Walter Cronkite passed away at 7:42 pm EDT, at his home in Manhattan, New York. He was 92.

Cronkite served as lead anchor for the CBS Evening News between 1962 thru1981, a time which saw America transition from innocence and into a very stormy 1960's. His live on the air breaking news reports of President John F. Kennedy and Rev. Martin Luther King's assassinations; his interest in America's steps toward the Moon as human space flight began; and his field reporting from a war torn Viet'nam helped changed most American's view of the failing conflict.

Cronkite loved what he did, getting as close to the news and telling Mr. and Mrs. America in simple plain speak what he knows. That was Walter.

On July 20, 1969, following word that "The Eagle Has landed" on the Moon and that astronaut Neil Armstrong got the lunar lander down, Walter Cronkite was speechless. He was anchoring the CBS coverage with astronaut Wally Schiera, and told Schiera to "Say something. I'm speechless", as he removed his glasses and grinned at what had just happed along with the rest of the world.

In 1998, "Uncle Walter" returned to the space beat as he joined CNN to broadcast the launch of John Glenn's return to space aboard Discovery. He was a avid watcher of then-CNN space anchor John Holliman, and he wanted to join Holliman's team. However, Holliman did not live to see the launch. Click Here to view our SpaceLaunch News STS-95 Issue from 1998, and my story on Cronkite.

"And, that's the way it is...", his famous closing line concluded his thirty minutes each night as he told America the way it was. His story telling will echo in our minds forever. Thank-you, sir.

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