The untimely death of longtime NBC newsman Tim Russert last week evoked a tremendous outpouring of emotion from a variety of sources. Heartfelt tributes were heard from his media colleagues, from Washington, D.C.'s power brokers and from ordinary viewers who connected with the working class roots of the plain-spoken Russert.
Television, being television, may have overplayed coverage of his death and the subsequent memorials, but the premature death of this energetic journalist served as a stark reminder to people of all ages that there's no guarantee any of us will live to the ripe old age that we may aspire to achieve.
Russert's unbridled enthusiasm for politics coupled with his intense yet even-handed questioning of politicians earned him respect and popularity. His appreciation and promotion of the old-fashioned values that he learned from his father -who held down two jobs to support his family in Buffalo, N.Y., - didn't go unnoticed by mentors such as Sen. Patrick D. Moynihan. The senator once assured the young Russert that what Moynihan's other Ivy League staff members knew Russert could learn, but that they would never know what it meant to struggle and scrape for a living.
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