Monday, June 16, 2008

If It's Sunday, We'll Be Missing Tim Russert

Alex Wong / Getty Images

Friday afternoon I was wrapping things up in anticipation of the weekend when someone on Twitter first broke the news that Tim Russert had just died. I was at first hopeful that it was some sick joke but a quick jump over to one of the major news sites confirmed the shocking news. Tim Russert, moderator and steward of America's political information was gone. With him he took that jolly smile, sharp-witted tongue and his love for this country and it's political process leaving a void that won't soon be filled.

I spent a great deal of time on Saturday and Sunday watching tributes to Tim and found myself riveted by the stories that were told by his friends and colleagues. From the erasable board that he made so famous during the election night coverage of 2000, to his love of his favorite singer, and mine, Bruce Springsteen. I learned things about Tim that a thirty minute broadcast never revealed to me. I found myself laughing and crying all at the same time. I was mourning a friend who in the grand scheme of things surely wasn't, but somehow oddly was.

Zachary asked me yesterday morning why a guy who I never met could make me so sad and happy all at once. I didn't have a straight answer for him. It is too hard to explain the unique devotion we find ourselves holding for those who want us to know more, to be better informed and get interested and involved in our own lives. Tim Russert somehow oddly did that for me and until this past weekend, I never really understood nor appreciated him for that. I think that made me the most sad.

Yesterday as I watched Meet The Press I found myself thinking how cool it was that Tom Brokaw, Mary Matalin, James Carville and the other guests had come to admire Tim and wanted to pay a very public, yet still very emotionally raw tribute to him. His desk and moderator chair appropriately left open with just a subtle, but noticeable, spotlight where Tim once sat. He was, as Tom Brokaw mentioned, our sentry of information. The respect and true loss of a good friend was evident in each of them.

All weekend long I kept thinking to myself that Tim Russert must have felt pretty amazing with such a long and distinguished list of people he called friend. The various interviews and incredibly insightful snipets that people shared showed a man with a thirst for life, a passion for his job and a love for his son and wife that was unparalleled. The amount of respect that was shown by competing news organizations as they in their own special way paid tribute to their colleague and friend, was both inspirational and a true testament to the kind of man Tim was.

We could only be so lucky when our time comes to have our friends, our colleagues our competitors say such incredible things about our own lives. It gives me something to shoot for....what about you?

So I say, thank you Tim Russert. Thank you for inspiring me to want to be a better friend, a better colleague, a better son, a better father and a better husband. Thank you for helping me learn to appreciate and understand the importance of my role as a citizen and that keeping and staying informed is both a right and privilege.

And you are right....."what a country!"

A country that will no doubt miss you.

God's speed my friend.

Ripple On!!!

1 comment:

Maura Thomas said...

Steve, what a great tribute. I've been a fan of Tim Russert's ever since I became a political junkie, many years ago now. I too found myself drinking in all the information I could get this weekend, as if that would somehow make it more believable if I read it over and over. Thanks for articulating exactly what I was feeling about a guy I never met but felt like I did. I almost burst into tears in my dentist's chair this morning as I was watching his son on the Today show, with a big smile on his face, as he remembered his Dad. As I've heard you say before, it's the mark we leave behind that makes the most difference in this lifetime, and what better way to leave a positive legacy than by living the "Ripple" every single day. Great post today, my friend.