And that’s the way it is …July 18, 2009 6:25 am analog
Walter Cronkite has died.
Many people feel a connection to this man, a testament to his straightforward, approachable, and sincere nature. But that sense of connection is somewhat deeper for me.
In 1968, when I was 2.5 years old, I contracted spinal meningitis. I was hospitalized for over a month, and the prognosis included the possibility of death. In an effort to keep my mind off the daily routine of injections and tests, my parents would read to me, sing, and ask me what small wishes they might fulfill. I asked them to tell Walter Cronkite that I wanted to go to the moon with him.
A letter was sent to CBS headquarters in Manhattan, and in response I received a letter from the man himself, typed and signed by his own hand. He told me he would like nothing better than to travel to the moon with me, but that that meant I had to focus my energies an getting well. And that he hoped I would get well and that we could realize my dream together. The letter included a signed photo.
I did get well, and that letter and photo are still in my possession, and to this day rank among my most treasured belongings.
And that’s the way it is.
Goodnight, Mr. Cronkite. This world is a far more empty place without you.