ANDREW HEYWARD: When Dan Rather joined CBS
News as a very young correspondent in 1962, he was not the very youngest
correspondent. Charles Kuralt had become the youngest correspondent
in 1959 at age 24. Charles and Dan worked together for more than 30
DAN RATHER: Good morning. Petie, Wallace. In times of loss, we cling
to certainty. So I want to speak this morning of a few things that are
certain. First certainty: Charles would've hated this. He would have
sat in profound discomfort while listening to his friends and loved
ones remember what a terrific guy he was. Charles was not a Tom Sawyer
who yearned to eavesdrop on his own funeral. Charles didn't mind the
odd compliment here and there, but lavish tributes were not his cup
I remember three years ago, when he left SUNDAY MORNING, the praise
came in from all corners and it could hardly have been more stirring
or more heartfelt. Charles bore up under it all because he knew it was
important to us, but he didn't like it. Even Andy Rooney managed to
say something nice, and Charles, doubtless aware of what an effort that
must've been for Andy, squirmed with embarrassment, although the rest
of us knew Andy was only being accurate, not nice, and that Charles
deserved every golden word that was spoken.
Charles took me aside at one point during one of those celebrations
and said, "You know, Dan, pretty soon it's going to be your turn.
They're gonna be celebrating your 15th anniversary at EVENING NEWS,
anddon't take this personallybut I can tell you right now,
I am not going to be there. I've had enough of these things," he
said. "Petie and I will be raising a glass to you and Jean about
as far away as we can possibly get."
Another certainty: Charles would've been uncomfortable here today because
it was Charles who was supposed to speak of others. CBS News has known,
in its day, a fair number of poets, novelists, short story writers,
several first-rate news writers, and one full-out philosopher, but none
of them ever wrote about people as movingly as Charles did.
Like a lot of people, including my friend, Phil Scheffler, I was, frankly,
looking forward to being eulogized by Charles, and that would've been
a very gratifying experience. It might even have taken some of the sting
out of death. I would've felt like a pretty important guy, an American
original, a lovable ON THE ROAD eccentric, with the great Charles Kuralt
speaking over my bier. You know, maybe Charles was looking forward to
that even more than I was.
But here's a third certainty: death and justice are not related. Charles
is gone and we are left behind.
And here's the fourth certainty: Charles would've hated this ceremony
because the people he cared about, while smiling and, yes, sometimes
laughing on the outside, areand he would know itso sad.
And so we try to find words to describe our loss because Charles valued
words, and when he used words, they always used to make us feel better.
It would take another Charles to write what we feel
today We feel baffled that a man who got such a kick out of talking
to old people never got old himself We feel lonely without him. We feel
angry that he was called away so early. We are grateful that we ever
knew him. But those are only labels to paste on feelings too deep for
The other day, I wrote that the best tribute we could pay Charles Kuralt
would be to go on the road ourselves from time to time, to look for
the best in others and the unexpected in ourselves.
I mean to do that whenever I can, and I hope you do, too. But today
I want to pay tribute to Charles Kuralt the SUNDAY MORNING way. I want
us to look and to listen the SUNDAY MORNING way. We are, ourselves,
a scene of natural beauty, of man's wonder and God's creation. We are
a bit of America, like the segments with which Charles used to close
his broadcastsin silence, just letting the audience look and listen.
So let us look around this room at the people Charles loved and the
people who loved Charles. Let us see Charles in them, in us and in the
silence. Let us listen to memory and hope and love, and let us go on
looking and listening.
Thanks for everything, my friend, Charles. God bless you.
An intellectually stimulating collection of insightful
and occasionally poignant commentaries, Charles Kuralt's People is
very highly recommended reading for students of the human condition in
and legions of Charles Kuralt fans in particular. — Midwest Book
for more info.
Hard cover, 386 pages, $25.95 plus $3.95 Priority
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Publishers of the first edition of "Remembering Charles Kuralt,"
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