The tragic news of Tim Russert's untimely and unexpected death yesterday inspired a feeling inside me that I have never really experienced before.
Whenever I see footage of the aftermath of John F. Kennedy's assassination, of Americans in the street crying over their lost leader, I always wonder why there is so much raw emotion. That's not to say that I think it is undeserved, but most Americans never really knew the man beyond his public appearances; in my mind, such prolific tears are reserved for close family members or dear friends.
But then yesterday, when I first learned of the news of Tim Russert's death, I found myself in a similar state of mind. There were no tears, but there was a profound sadness that I have never truly experienced before. I have been fortunate enough that death has yet to touch my life in a significant way.
Perhaps it is because of my major. As a journalism student, Tim Russert represented for me the pinnacle of the profession, a bar for whom all others, including myself one day, must strive to meet. His passion and poise in a time when such traits are eclipsed by partisanship and bickering are guidelines that all should strive to adhere to.
I am too young to fully appreciate the scope of Mr. Russert's full career, and the breadth of his knowledge and insight. But were I to extrapolate from the work that I have had the privilege of viewing, I can get a sense of the loss that his absence will create.
NBC lost their star yesterday, journalism lost its navigator, politics lost its guardian, and the American people lost their spokesman. I lost a role model. But his family lost most of all, a father, son and husband. And for that, I send my deepest and most sincere condolences to the Russert family.
May Tim Russert rest in peace.