Only last night, I learned of the death of Peter Jennings from inoperable lung cancer this past Sunday. For most of my adult life, he — along with Tom Brokaw and Dan Rather — brought the news to my doorstep. Anyone that knows me knows that the news has been the background tune of my life. As long as I can remember, I’ve been watching the news, and for a good deal of that, I got that heartbeat of the world from Peter Jennings.
(Of course, it’s not lost on me that the disease that took him is the very same one that took my father from me, inside of two weeks of the third anniversary of that loss.)
ABC has tonight run a two hour reflection of Peter Jennings and his career and persona. Impressive to me is that ABC opted to run that program with no commercials. None. In this day and age of commercial interests and influence — especially on a network owned by Disney — the solemnity and respect that the lack of commerical material shows to his memory is really amazing. Of course, Disney got their name out there throughout the broadcast in memorializing soundbites spaced throughout the tribute, but, hey, it’s Disney.
I think the thing that hit me the closest from this program is this sense of exploring the world that he had, and I think we all should be a part of. He showed us the world through the eyes of the smallest, frailest, most helpless people of the world. That’s another good lesson.
For me, this was an inspirational program, and I can only hope to accomplish a thousandth of what he did.
Rest in peace Peter.