Walter Cronkite's funeral to honor CBS newsman
FRAZIER MOORE | 7/23/2009, 4:22 p.m.
NEW YORK (AP) -- Loved ones, friends and colleagues gathered Thursday July 23 for Walter Cronkite's funeral as flowers arrived at the church and tourists lingered outside to pay their respects. The service was being held at St. Bartholomew's Church in midtown Manhattan, where the CBS newsman's family worshipped for decades.
Broadcast journalists - co-workers, competitors, successors - entered the church, including Connie Chung, Bob Schieffer, Diane Sawyer, Brian Williams, Dan Rather, Barbara Walters, Charles Gibson, Matt Lauer, Tom Brokaw, Morley Safer and Meredith Vieira.
Spectators lined both sides of Park Avenue, looking on as the casket arrived.
Earlier, flowers arrived from Yoko Ono, who wrote: "Walter, my son Sean and I will always remember you! for your kind word to us. You will be missed. With love, Yoko Ono Lennon."
Tourists from Canada were walking to Times Square and saw the news vans outside the church and were told the vans were there for Cronkite's ceremony.
Ethel Bratt and her daughter Holly from Saskatchewan stood outside and remembered how her family followed U.S. news events closely and how tumultuous the 1960s were - with the Vietnam War, the space race, the assassinations of John and Robert Kennedy as well as Martin Luther King Jr.
"It's overwhelming to be here," said Bratt, who's in her mid-50s. "He was just part of my growing-up years. He was part of the news events of that generation when everything was going on."
Although the service was planned as a traditional burial service from the Episcopal Book of Common Prayer, announced speakers included "60 Minutes" commentator Andy Rooney and longtime Cronkite producer Sanford Socolow, as well as son Chip Cronkite.
For his reporting, Cronkite came to be called "the most trusted man in America" and was widely considered the premier TV journalist of his time. He anchored "The CBS Evening News" from 1962 until 1981. Cronkite died Friday at his Manhattan home at 92.
A separate memorial will be held within the next few weeks at New York's Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts.
Associated Press Writer Marcus Franklin contributed to this report.