Recently we lost, what I consider to be, an American Icon. Walter Cronkite was born in St. Joe and, I'm pround to say, worked right here in our town at the Kansas City Star as he began his rise to becoming a household name. He is synonymous with several key moments in history as he broke and covered stories that affected all of America like the JFK assassination and the Apollo 11 moon landing, just to name a couple. He even flew in bombing missions during WWII. After I heard of his death, I started thinking back to those memorable broadcasts (not that I was alive during those times but we've all seen the footage) and compared not only the way he delivered the news but also his content with the news of today. I understand that we live in a 24 news cycle but one would think that would allow MORE news to be delivered to us and not just ramming the same stories down our throats unless that story has something uncovered that's worth following up on (I promise I do have a point with all this so bare with me). I saw a tribute montage the other day for Walter Cronkite and in that montage he spoke about the future of American Journalism. He said, "The profession of Journalism ought to be about telling people what they NEED to know, not what they want to know. It must be responsible if we're going to have the informed public that we need to have to make this democracy work." Shortly there after, I got an e-mail from one of my co-workers here at Entercom that really drove this all home for me. The e-mail reads as follows:
You're a 19 year old kid. You're critically wounded, and dying in the jungle in the Na Drang Valley, 11-14-1965, LZ X-ray, Vietnam . Your infantry unit is outnumbered 8 - 1, and the enemy fire is so intense, from 100 or 200 yards away, that your own Infantry Commander has ordered the MediVac helicopters to stop coming in.
You're lying there, listening to the enemy machine guns, and you know you're not getting out. Your family is 1/2 way around the world, 12,000 miles away, and you'll never see them again. As the world starts to fade in and out, you know this is the day.
Then, over the machine gun noise, you faintly hear that sound of a helicopter, and you look up to see an un-armed Huey, but it doesn't seem real, because no Medi-Vac markings are on it...
Ed Freeman is coming for you. He's not Medi-Vac, so it's not his job, but he's flying his Huey down into the machine gun fire, after the Medi-Vacs were ordered not to come.
He's coming anyway.
And he drops it in, and sits there in the machine gun fire, as they load 2 or 3 of you on board.
Then he flies you up and out through the gunfire, to the Doctors and Nurses. And, he kept coming back.... 13 more times...... And took about 30 of you and your buddies out, who would never have gotten out.
Medal of Honor Recipient, Ed Freeman, died last Wednesday at the age of 80, in Boise , ID .......
May God rest his soul......
I bet you didn't hear about this hero's passing, but we sure were told a whole bunch about Michael Jackson.
Medal of Honor Winner
Don't get me wrong, Michael Jackson was an icon as well and the stamp he left in the music industry will be felt forever, probably, and his death was tragic, but there has been other news going on, like Ed Freeman, that gets swept under the rug because the media follows a story too far when there's nothing new to report. There are others out there who have made ENORMOUS contributions who don't even get a single mention and their stories go unheard while we and the media obsess with stories about celebrities. Should celebrities get covered in the news?, sure they should. Their stories are interesting and many times news worthy, but so are the stories of ordinary Americans doing extraordinary things...like Ed Freeman who was a true American war hero. Had I not received that e-mail, I would have never known Ed Freeman's story which would have been a tragedy in and of itself.
I'm not trying to be funny when I say this, but there was a great line in Spiderman that I think applies here..."With great power comes great responsibilty." The news media HAS great power with the ability to deliver information to us; however great responsibilty seems to be lacking. It would be nice for more of the media to pick up the torch that was lit by the late, great Walter Cronkite..."And that's the way it is."
I just want to say I am deployed to Afghanistan and have been to Iraq twice before and I know the feeling and situations this man has been through. To have made it through all of that and still have not lost his mind is a battle in itself. I am with the 5th SBCT out of fort lewis washington, but am a blue springs native and would love to let you know great write up and these guys are the true american heroes.