From an article I found:
Legendary TV anchorman Walter Cronkite (right) interviewing Bill Gill, the assistant director of the Mars station, on July 4, 1969 for CBS TV. They are seated in front of the scan converter. The rack to the right of the scan converter contained the Fairchild slow scan monitor provided to the MSFN stations. Photo: Bill Wood. From a website I found.
“Just as the Beatles were the soundtrack for our lives, Cronkite was the voice of the news growing up,” said Yelland. “He only had 20 minutes to tell us what was going on in the world and we trusted that he could.
And that pretty well sums up, way too succinctly, how I felt when I read about the death of Walter Cronkite. He was the background voice of my growing up years...a growing up that went extra fast because of so many things. One, I lived on the Space Coast in Florida - which we called the Spaced Coast* in the years of leaps and bounds with rockets, my father right in there with the rocket scientists, but what did I know? We thought it was entirely normal to be rounded up by teachers and let out of class into the playgrounds to watch rockets shoot into space. One time, talking to a friend who lived about 10 miles away (on the barrier island I grew up on), I told her, hey, I have to go, there's a rocket going off. She ran outside and yelled to all of her neighbors THERE'S a ROCKET going off! Half an hour later she called me back and said, what rocket??? I said, oh, my brother is shooting off some rockets... Because of where we lived, she assumed that there was a BIG rocket going off....she should have waited for Walter Cronkite to tell her!
But even before that, when I was in fourth grade and John Kennedy was assassinated, he was the voice as my siblings and I marched in our living room to the cadence of drums and horses hooves, drawing the casket of a man that, young as I was, I knew was one of a kind. Walter Cronkite's voice took us down that road.
And then there was the Viet Nam war, with the kindly, serious face and voice of Walter Cronkite giving us, for the first time in history, an all too close to reality ongoing toll of statistics and visuals every night at dinner time.
Oh, but there was more, so much more. Walter was far from finished. He led us through the first moon landing, with his (and the rest of the world's) outdrawn breath, with that first step down on such an unimaginable place:
"Whew, boy (laughs). ... There he is, there's a foot coming down the steps. ... So there's a foot on the moon, stepping down on the moon. If he's testing that first step, he must be stepping down on the moon at this point. ... Well, look at those pictures. It's sort of shadowy, but we sort of expected that in the shadow of the lunar module. Armstrong is on the moon — Neil Armstrong, 38-year-old American, standing on the surface of the moon, on this July 20, 19 hundred and 69."
He continued to grace us with his words of wisdom and gentle humor until not long before his death. He was a gentleman, a consummate professional, and a joy as a human being not to be forgotten.
I can't cover here all that Walter Cronkite covered, every day and night for so many years. But thankfully, it is recorded. If you are of an age to take a big trip down memory lane, a USAToday
site, of all places (an irony I think Walter would appreciate) has a great compilation of many of his highlight moments (which includes most of the significant historical moments in a span of time stretching from when history was slo-mo to the speed zone of now).
Bless you, Walter Cronkite, for being the man you were. Right time, right place, well done. Rest in peace, though no doubt peace will be incredibly boring for you.
*if you are at all interested in what it was like Growing Up With Rockets, here is a multi part You Tube of an independant film of the same name. A lot of these people were friends of mine, though I never met the folks who made this. Bless them!
Thank you, Walter Cronkite. There is no one to fill your shoes of unbiased reporting and the world, particularly America, is worse off for your loss.
I'm so lucky to have live through times without the Rush Limbaughs of the universe. Rush, meet Walter...and be glad if you could lick the soles of his shoes.