Our nation has lost a true patriot and an exemplary citizen.  The news media has lost a committed truth-teller who epitomized journalistic responsibility. Interfaith Alliance has lost a proud supporter and respected Honorary Chairman of the Board. I have lost an inspiring hero and a dear personal friend.

Walter Cronkite embodied the core values espoused by Interfaith Alliance—integrity and civility, respect for diversity and the importance of religious liberty.  In venues across the nation and around the world Walter called for responsive and responsible government, leaders characterized by honesty and courage, and citizens informed as well as active.  Walter valued personal faith even as the right to keep his faith private.

Walter was uncompromising in his reporting of reality—what he saw and heard—and straightforward when speaking of possibility—exploring what could be and pointing the way forward.  The intensity and seriousness with which Walter did his work were complemented by the lightness of his sense of humor and the warmth of his smile.  His strong resonant voice conveyed the relentless objectivity with which he reported the news but a pause in his speech or an infrequent tear in his eye provided insight into how much he cared about the people and events in his reports.

To be a part of an organization and a movement that this man affirmed and supported has been a privilege beyond measure.  To work with him was a joy and an honor.  To be the beneficiary of his wisdom and the recipient of his encouragement were great gifts.

Admired as the most trusted man in America, Walter Cronkite always told us the way it could be as well as the way it was.  And, we are a better people for having believed him and followed his counsel.

No one will replace Walter Cronkite.  We can only hope that many will share his values, aspire to his courage, and emulate his integrity.

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