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July 18th, 2009
12:20 PM ET

Walter Cronkite: The way it was

No one ever wants to say goodbye. America is doing that today.

Walter Cronkite touched our lives in so many ways. Whether it was the calming voice, the glasses or the wisdom, he made us take notice. If it came out of Cronkite's mouth, it MUST be important. President Lyndon Johnson knew it and so did the rest of us.

So as we say goodbye to an icon, we remember how he enhanced our lives by helping to teach the value of information. For broadcast journalists, he was a model: This is how it’s done (my words) and “That’s the way it is”(his). I’d love to hear your comments, your memories of pioneering Walter Cronkite.

Filed under: Anchors • Fredricka Whitfield
soundoff (18 Responses)
  1. michael armstrong sr.

    There's been alot of good people die this year it's definitly has not been a good year for famous people it's almost like loosing a family member every time some one dies Walter always covered the most important breaking news I wouldnt be surprised if Ted Koppel learned his trade from this legend .

    July 18, 2009 at 11:01 am |
  2. Shorty

    I grew up watching him, I watched when JFK was shot, the moon landing and more. After reading his biography a while back, I was even more impressed as to how he got to where he was.

    I was unhappy when he had to retire as I'm sure others where, and never stopped missing his broadcasts.
    RIP Walter Cronkite

    July 18, 2009 at 11:08 am |
  3. david dew bruner

    I have the most vivid image of Walter. Having spent at least 10 days with no electricty after Hurricane Besty in New Orleans – 1965 – at 5:10 pm the power came back on and there was Walter speaking .
    The world seemed to be okay after that.

    July 18, 2009 at 11:22 am |
  4. Charlie Erickson

    His voice allowed you to understand what was happening, and when he spoke of things seemingly unbelievable; you would believe it. It is so true that when Walter Cronkite spoke on anything, you would know it to be true. It is easy to understand why he was the most trusted man in America.

    It is such a shame that today, we Americans have so few which can be trusted to tell us like it is; surely no one like him. The voice of truth and reassurance, now only echoes through the winds of time.

    It was a tall order, to have millions of people having so much trust in what you say. Every night, when he would conclude with: "and that's the way it is", you could be sure that it was as he said. That's just they way he was.

    He now reports to the ages.


    July 18, 2009 at 11:32 am |
  5. Larry

    There was something so real, so genuine about Walter. Back in his day people just reported the news. There were no 24 hour networks so reporters didn't have to waste a lot of time spinning or speculating on the news.

    He'll be missed, especially by those of us who watched him every 6:00 evening hour.

    RIP Walter Cronkite

    July 18, 2009 at 11:34 am |
  6. Bettyann Pernice

    From the mouths of babes: When my daughter was 8 years old, she saw an ad for Dan Rather on TV. She said to me "Oh, Dan Rather, he's good." I said "you know Dan Rather?" She answered "Yes, dad and I watch him on the news. He's good . . . not as good as Walter Cronkite!" That says it all. ; )

    July 18, 2009 at 12:15 pm |
  7. Justin Polachek

    Godspeed Walter,

    For young Americans like me who are interested in journalism, but missed the nights of Cronkite, we hear the stories of our parents and other older Americans, and what he meant to them. He was the voice of history to them; whether it being the death of a president and his brother, or humans on the moon. He made us all feel part of the story with his childlike facination, or the depth of his emotion that at times was not far from the surface. America has lost a legend. Thanks Walter

    July 18, 2009 at 12:16 pm |
  8. Valerie

    Mr. Walter Cronkite is an Icon for many and many generations.
    I remember the time that mother and father watch the News every night. My mother was born in the same year as he...(March 26, 1916 in Mississippi....) and she passed away in the same month as he..July (July 29, 1999 in Seattle, Wa. ...) I was born in the year Pres.Truman..
    I also remember the RCA black and white television 17 years ago watching the Apollo space ship land on the moon as Mr Cronkite reported to Americans

    July 18, 2009 at 12:24 pm |
  9. Jim

    Not well-known is that amateur/ham radio was one of Walter Cronkite's many loves. At a time when we're losing our science & technology edge to other countries, Walter Cronkite has inspired many of our young people to pursue ham radio, a pursuit which has led many leading scientists, engineers, and space pioneers to follow their dreams.

    July 18, 2009 at 12:30 pm |
  10. Sally

    We shall never see the likes of Walter Cronkite pass this way again!!

    July 18, 2009 at 1:40 pm |
  11. Mark Gunns

    It's like you have lost a favorite uncle. I still remember Dad having me roll the 19inch B&W Zenith into the dining room every evening so we all could watch the news during dinner. Of course Mom wasn't happy about a Tv in the dining room, it was a differnet time! After he left CBS, I switched to ABC.... God bless Uncle Walter.

    July 18, 2009 at 2:29 pm |
  12. Margaret

    Maybe today's news anchors should take a lesson from Mr. Cronkite. He actually reported the news, not just stories that provided sensational video. He and his peers are sorely missed.

    July 18, 2009 at 3:12 pm |
  13. CATIE

    Several anchors commented that they were honored to have a dinner with Walter Cronkite. My family was MUCH more fortunate: we ate our dinner with him every night in the 60's and 70's, and our lives were enriched by his balanced, classy presence. I know I speak for countless similar families!

    July 18, 2009 at 3:19 pm |
  14. Leigh Foster

    Growing up my grandmother lived with us. Every night she would say I have to "Watch Walter" now! It was as if he was an important part of the day and in my mmeory he was always there. I don't remember a time when I didn't know and value Waltrt Cronkite.

    July 18, 2009 at 3:23 pm |
  15. Marie

    RIP Walter, you did a fine job while you were here. I regret you weren't able to imbue your strong standards to those coming along for future generations. They could use a large dose of integrity and honor. It's sorely lacking.
    Today if we want REAL news we have to visit online newspapers from Europe and the UK. I suspect any future News Awards will be given to "Corporate America" since Corporate America has decided what news we're 'allowed' to learn and if it's unflattering to their friends well, it's hidden. How "HONORABLE" is that!
    You probably don't realize it but Walter couldn't get hired today! He's not nearly handsome enough, and he's too intellectual. We wouldn't want to upset the Reality Show crowds. I wish we had more Walters.

    July 18, 2009 at 3:30 pm |
  16. Iris Blumenau

    Judge Sotomayar is eloquent, intelligent and shoud certainly be confirmed! The Republican Congressmen questioned her as if she was a criminal. She should have been treated with respect. I found the attitude of those men disgusting!

    July 18, 2009 at 4:26 pm |
  17. Donald Mangold

    I have a story I would like to share with you about Walter Cronkite, it is copyrighted but I give you permission to use it.

    At NASA, the person who knows the most about what is going on in the mission is the Flight Director. There are three of them on each mission, one in charge of each shift. Of course the Mission Operations Control Room operates round the clock when the mission is on.

    During one mission, when everything was going along just fine, a Flight Director went home at the end of his shift. His wife asked him, "What is going wrong with the mission?"

    He told her the mission was going well, and there wasn't any problem. She said, "I don't believe you. Walter Cronkite looks worried and I know there is something wrong."

    The Flight Director said, "There isn't anything wrong, the mission is fine." She said, "I don't care what you tell me, Walter looks worried and I KNOW there is something wrong."

    Wives! God bless them, aren't they wonderful?

    July 19, 2009 at 5:56 pm |
  18. vinnett


    I beg to differ this is not a teachable moment, it's a shame what Blacks and other minorities have to go thru in this country. Mr. Obama had a great opportunity to address this issue, he started a great dialogue when he stated that the Cambridge Officer acted stupidly and sadly he retreated. Truth be told, if Mr. Gate was a White Male we wouldn’t have been arrested. It’s sad what’s taking place in this country who constantly recites liberty and justice for all.
    Shame on the Black Cambridge Officer who was there and believes that the way Gates was treated was fair. I would like for him to have gone thru what Mr. Gate went thru. He is only covering his own butt, in fear that if he speaks out he will be alienating by his peers. SHAME ….SHAME….SHAME…

    July 25, 2009 at 1:09 pm |

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