Among the first online tributes to the late Tim Russert are this post from Kevin Thompson of the Palm Beach Post and an especially moving one from John Smyntek of the Detroit Free Press. The latter begins by discussing a column he wrote for his newspaper in 1998 concerning the funeral of his father, who was buried in the shoes he wore to his wedding. (Like Russert, Smyntek came from a working-class Catholic family in Buffalo; the two men were even born in the same year.) A reader sent the column to Russert, who asked Smyntek’s permission to include part of it in his book Wisdom Of Our Fathers.
This serves as a reminder that, while Tim Russert did not actually invent Father’s Day (as perhaps some of our younger citizens think, given the frequency with which the above book and Big Russ And Me are given as presents that weekend), he did a lot to raise awareness of the value which fathers give to our lives, especially those from the WWII generation. (The law that established Father’s Day as a permanent national holiday, incidentally, was signed by Richard Nixon in 1972.)
It’s still hard to realize that an hour from now he will not be appearing at the end of NBC Nightly News to tell Brian Williams and the rest of us who’ll be on Meet The Press this Sunday. Our deepest sympathies to his wife Maureen Orth, his son Luke, his father Big Russ, and the rest of his family.
(PS: Catholic News now has a post concerning Russert’s abiding faith and his pride in the education he received from his Church.)