When John Paul II passed and a new Pope was raised to the chair with no sign of Peter Jennings in Vatican Square, it was clear that something was terribly wrong…

Peter Jennings died of lung cancer this weekend.

My generation grew up with Peter Jennings bringing us the nightly news. In time we came to know his every facial tick: every subtle nod, fractionally raised eyebrow, sly smirk… his own non-verbal commentary on the events of the day provided often as much grist for the mill as his script — and frequently much more.

“There are a lot of people who think our job is to reassure the public every night that their home, their community and their nation is safe… I don’t subscribe to that at all. I subscribe to leaving people with essentially — sorry, it’s a cliche — a rough draft of history. Some days it’s reassuring, some days it’s absolutely destructive.”
— Peter Jennings

Through decades of tumult and change–even as the “pillars” of traditional journalism crumbled around him–Jennings demonstrated unflagging dedication, integrity, passion, and compassion. And it was the last that made all the difference.

Good night, Peter.

Postscript: Yeah, Mom… I know I should quit smoking.

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