Ending an era

August 29, 2009

As a child, before I was a quasi-news junkie, I adored Walter Cronkite.

“And that’s the way it is,” his famous tagline.

Maybe it was his deep, calm voice that attracted me. Who knows, but I felt like I’d lost a favorite uncle earlier this summer when he died.

And now this week with the passing of Sen. Ted Kennedy, I am struck by the exodus of American icons in the last year.

This site lists some who died earlier this year. Ed McMahon, Bea Arthur, Karl Malden, Robert McNamara…and of course Michael Jackson and Farah Fawcett on the same day.

Tim Russert in 2008, famous for his “Meet the Press” hosting, was the beginning I think of this string of icons leaving us. He was too young, of course, and while it’s never easy, losing Walter Cronkite at age 93 was less shocking and a bit easier to accept.

Maybe this strikes me because it points to my own mortality. These are people that have always been in my stream of consciousness. Part of the society around me…my familiar culture.

Sen. Kennedy’s death seems to close the Kennedy family legacy. Granted there are many descendants of that lineage who continue to work to serve America. But for most of us–across ages–JFK, Bobby and Ted all mean something. And today that chapter closes.

I love the dynamics of our culture and the new things and icons we add. But it’s hard to say goodbye. Even to these people I never know. It signals a door closed that cannot open again, which always nicks at my heart.


One comment

  1. Don’t forget Leo Fender (Fender Guitars) and Les Paul (Namesake of the Gibson Les Paul guitar) whose advances in electrifying and amplifying the guitar directly led to popular music as we know it. Here’s to lives well-lived!

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