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Northwest Voices

Seattle Times letters to the editor

July 21, 2009 at 4:00 PM

Remembering Cronkite: Anchorman had clairvoyant vision of U.S. affairs

Missing the man who showed us the defining moments like none other could

The consummate newsman, Walter Cronkite, brought us the world each night, and we believed him. There were only three news broadcasts — ABC, NBC and CBS — and no cable news or Internet. Cronkite’s deep baritone was the voice of reason, yet he was compassionate and real. His emotion while relaying the death of John F. Kennedy was the mark of a truly genuine human being.

The brilliant and ever inquisitive Cronkite defined our world. Trained as a print reporter, he told us the facts and actually dared to tell us the crushing truth, like that the Vietnam War had failed. Lyndon B. Johnson then said, “If I’ve lost Cronkite, I’ve lost Middle America.”

We watched men land on the moon for the first time with Cronkite. We watched the civil-rights movement with Cronkite, and the sad deaths of Martin Luther King Jr. and Robert F. Kennedy. We even watched Watergate with Cronkite.

In 1972, two polls found Cronkite to be the most trusted man in America. “Uncle Walter” was quite simply an extraordinary reporter, broadcaster, editor and human being. He informed us about the world in a way that has not been matched and will not be matched again. We will miss the man who told us, “That’s the way it is.”

— Bambi Lin Litchman, Tacoma

Cronkite, a Vietnam critic, also saw folly in war on drugs

I was saddened to hear of Walter Cronkite’s death at the age of 92 last week. The Seattle Times has reported and commented upon the amazing stature that Cronkite attained as a news commentator with a column by Alex Alben [” … and that’s the way it was,” Opinion, July 21] and a blog by Ryan Blethen [“Cronkite, the passing of an era,” seattletimes.com, The Democracy Papers, July 21].

Among other accomplishments, Cronkite was known for his coverage of the Vietnam War. He understood the futility of that conflict, and his voice rang loud and clear against it. In response, President Lyndon Johnson was reported to have said, “If I’ve lost Cronkite, I’ve lost Middle America.”

However, this was not the only war Cronkite realized was not winnable. On March 1, 2006, he wrote, “And I cannot help but wonder how many more lives, and how much more money, will be wasted before another Robert McNamara admits what is plain for all to see: The war on drugs is a failure.”

Cronkite was a supporter of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition, an international organization of current and former law-enforcement officers who seek to minimize death, disease, crime and addiction by gradually legalizing and regulating drugs.

As a member of LEAP, I am proud to share this small connection with a great man. His wisdom, integrity and judgment will be missed.

— Jim Doherty, Shoreline

Moon talk and walk from two American greats

Walter Cronkite gave us Moon Talk. Michael Jackson gave us Moon Walk. And that’s the way it was.

— Leo Shillong, Bellingham

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