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Walter Cronkite: Colleagues, friends pay tribute

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After Walter Cronkite’s death from cerebrovascular disease July 17, friends and family offered up their remembrances and tributes.

PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA (via YouTube) “For decades, Walter Cronkite was the most trusted voice in America. His rich baritone reached millions of living rooms every night, and in an industry of icons, Walter set the standard by which all others have been judged. He was there through wars and riots, marches and milestones, calmly telling us what we needed to know, and through it all, he never lost the integrity he gained growing up in the heartland. But Walter was always more than just an anchor. He was someone we could trust to guide us through the most important issues of the day; a voice of certainty in an uncertain world. He was family. In an era before blogs and email, cell phones and cable, he was the news. Walter invited us to believe in him, and he never let us down. This country has lost an icon and a dear friend, and he will be truly missed.”

NEIL ARMSTRONG (former astronaut)”He had a passion for human space exploration, an enthusiasm that was contagious, and the trust of his audience. He will be missed.”

BARBARA WALTERS He was “a jolly and supportive friend. He will be missed by each of us individually who knew him and by the whole country who loved him.”

DAN RATHER “He was literally a living legend and now a legend in memory.”

PRESIDENT JIMMY CARTER “As president, I knew I would be treated fairly by Walter. Although his questions might be tough, I always enjoyed the challenge.”

SECRETARY OF STATE HILLARY RODHAM CLINTON “It’s a great time to look back and think about someone who played

such a major role in explaining what was going on and did it in a calm, fact-based way without embellishments that too often get in the way of really understanding what’s going on.”

CHARLES BOLDEN (NASA director) From the earliest days of the space program, Walter brought the excitement, the drama and the achievements of space flight directly into our homes. But it was the conquest of the moon in the late 1960s that energized Walter most about exploration. He called it the most important feat of all time and said that the success of Apollo 11 would

be remembered 500 years from now as humanity’s greatest achievement.”

MIKE WALLACE (60 Minutes correspondent emeritus, via CNN) “We were proud to work with him — for him — we loved him.”

MORLEY SAFER (60 Minutes correspondent, via CNN) “Walter was truly the father of television news. The trust that viewers placed in him was based on the recognition of his fairness, honesty and strict objectivity. And of course, his long experience as a

shoe-leather reporter covering everything from local politics to World War II and its aftermath in the Soviet Union.”

DON HEWITT (onetime executive producer, CBS Evening News, via CNN) “He was the consummate television newsman. He had all the credentials to be a writer, an editor, a broadcaster. There was only one Walter Cronkite, and there may never be another one.”

JOHN S. HICKS (founder and Chairman, Discovery Communications; mentee of Cronkite) “It is fair to say there would be no Discovery Channel without Walter Cronkite. When we struggled for funding and viability in the early 1980s, Walter was one of the first to see the possibility of a 24-hour channel dedicated to high quality storytelling about the world around us.  His guidance, support and commitment were instrumental in securing the resources and distribution to first launch Discovery in 1985.  He remained a friend, mentor and invaluable counselor to me.  Walter also contributed many outstanding programs to help inform our global audience including telling his life story to Discovery Channel viewers through a remarkable 8-part series called Cronkite remembers in 1996. I will miss him greatly, and on behalf of the 4,000 Discovery employees worldwide, we mourn the passing of our dear friend and colleagues who inspired the world with his boundless sense of curiosity. We will continue to live up to his standard of excellence and integrity in everything we do each and every day.”

BILLY GRAHAM (friend and evangelist)”Walter Cronkite was one of the closest friends I had in journalism. He was an icon. I doubt if anybody will replace him in the hearts and minds of Americans. I respected his views on so many subjects. I will never forget Walter’s narration of a documentary film produced

about my wife, Ruth. May God bless his family during these days.”