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Newsman Walter Cronkite celebrated at memorial service

Newsman Walter Cronkite celebrated at memorial service

Posted: Wednesday, September 9, 2009 8:58 pm
By: AP

 

NEW YORK (AP) — Former President Bill Clinton remembered Walter Cronkite as “a great citizen and a profoundly good human being” during a memorial service today for the legendary newsman.

Clinton saluted Cronkite for “an inquiring mind and a caring heart and a careful devotion to the facts.”

After watching Cronkite as a youngster, Clinton grew to be friends with him in adulthood, “and I just ended up being crazy about the guy.”

Others scheduled to appear included former Cronkite colleagues at CBS News, astronaut Buzz Aldrin, musicians Wynton Marsalis and Mickey Hart and President Obama.

Jimmy Buffett sang his classic “Son of a Son of a Sailor” for his sailing buddy Cronkite.

But before that, he had a warm recollection of seeking some advice for a mutual friend, the late “60 Minutes” correspondent Ed Bradley.

After a sail, “the sun was down, the rum was out and I said, ‘Walter, Ed called me and he’s thinking about wearing an earring on ‘60 Minutes.”’

Buffett said Cronkite responded: “It doesn’t matter if he wears an earring, as long as it’s a good story.” Then Cronkite added impishly: “If I was going to wear an earring on ‘60 Minutes,’ I’d wear one of those big, long dangly ones.”

Cronkite, who died July 17 at 92, anchored “The CBS Evening News” from 1962 until 1981. He came to be known as “the most trusted man in America.”

Former NBC anchor Tom Brokaw called him “a seminal force in the transformation of this country.”

Brokaw, who grew up in South Dakota, said, “Walter Cronkite and all those early (TV news) pioneers lifted a lamp and showed us the wider world and allowed us to understand it more clearly and coherently.”

Among those attending the service, at Manhattan’s Lincoln Center, were former CBS anchor Dan Rather; ABC’s Charles Gibson, Diane Sawyer, Barbara Walters and Bob Woodruff; and NBC’s Brian Williams.

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AP Television Writer Frazier Moore contributed to this story.

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CBS is a division of CBS Corp.

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On the Net:

http://www.cbsnews.com

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