There have been many tributes in the media to the late Walter Cronkite, a man whose integrity has never been questioned, except maybe by a few unsavoury individuals years ago who felt their spin should be universally acknowledged, accepted and regurgitated without question.
This eulogy may be slightly different, for while members of the mainstream media will feel a kinship with one of the last of the TV journalistic giants, your humble blogger feels even more so. For while I am Justa Mason, I am also Justa DeMolay. And while Walter Cronkite was not a Freemason, he was a DeMolay. An active one in his Chapter, at that.
‘Uncle Walter’ was born in St. Joseph, Missouri and moved to Houston, Texas at the age of ten. It was in Houston Chapter he joined Frank Land’s fraternity for boys and promised to “be faithful to every trust committed to me” as millions of others have done. He had a one-line tale about his membership (in what he termed “DeMolay...the junior Masonic order”) in his autobiography A Reporter’s Life. He reported:
“I am one of that number who have an aversion to the slightest hint of regimentation...evident when...I steadfastly marched north while the rest of the fellows reversed smartly and marched south, thus costing our DeMolay drill team a state championship.”
Whether coincidence or an indication of something greater, it should be noted that two of Cronkite’s TV contemporaries—Chet Huntley and John Cameron Swayze—were DeMolays. So was Elmer Lower, the one-time president of ABC News. And on the radio news side, there was commentator Paul Harvey, who passed away earlier this year.
On a smaller scale, I work in a newsroom with two Senior DeMolays. One of them gave me my first office (Fifth Preceptor) some $@#%+* years ago. (Hmm. How did that garble get there?)
I’d like to tell you more about Cronkite’s DeMolay history. To do so, I’ve gone to the web page for the DeMolay Hall of Fame. I can find a guy barred from the Baseball Hall of Fame for gambling. There’s another with at least two drunk driving convictions who pleaded no contest to the same charge this year. And I’ll avoid comment about another entrant lest I be accused of having some kind of U.S. political bias or agenda. But there’s nothing about the Most Trusted Man in America.
Perhaps it’s an oversight. I simply cannot believe Walter Cronkite has been omitted from the DeMolay Hall of Fame.
If he has been so honoured, I would hope the people at DeMolay International would add something to the Hall of Fame Page. If he has not been inducted, the formerly-known-as I.S.C. should rectify the situation forthwith. For DeMolay should be paying tribute to one of its own, just as saddened news reporters around the world have been doing since word of his death.
Walter Cronkite was my Brother. I only hope I can be worthy of it.