The news of
Peter Jennings' death shocked most in America. The 67-year-old looked
decades younger than his age, and his booming voice with the touch of a
British accent acquired from his youth in Canada seemed like it would
go on forever. But lung cancer took the life of Jennings over the
weekend, and we lost more than just a public figure who appeared on our
TV's every night at 6:30.
News and sports anchors are viewed by the public as talking heads;
people with a forum for a few minutes a day to try to explain the
world's events. Some anchors only read what's in front of them, doing
little research, and understanding less. If you have watched any of the
life tributes to Jennings over the last few days, you realize how
involved he was. He never let a story air that he wasn't fully educated
Jennings was blessed with charisma and good looks, but also blessed
with a determination and work ethic to get the story, and get it done
right. Jennings traveled the world and put his life on the line to get
the "real" story. He was in Munich, Germany in 1972 when terrorists
struck at the Olympics. His preparation on such world affairs helped
him identify the group responsible before the authorities could.
It's a life lesson for many to learn from. Peter Jennings had God-given
talents, but he didn't waste them. He used his passion and work ethic
to make it to the top of the business, stay there, and revolutionize
the industry. He was the rock people watched during 9/11, he helped
usher in Y2K, and helped explain every election. But he never became
bigger than the story.
Jennings left a legacy that even sports fans will remember and
miss. Class, dignity, hard work. Everyone should aspire to have
those qualities and emulate the life of Jennings. Emulate everything
except the smoking that helped end his life prematurely.