Day 29: My Grandfather Was A Journalist, Not An Enemy Of The State

My grandfather was a journalist, not an enemy of the state.

He started his own newspaper in his neighborhood at the age of 14 and was the editor of the University of Chicago’s Maroon.

He wrote for this country in Stars and Stripes when he was stationed in Europe in the U.S. Army from 1949 to 1951.

He wrote professionally for over 55 years until his health would no longer allow it.

He wrote about movements, like the one he saw on Aug. 28, 1963 when hundreds of thousands of people descended on the National Mall to raise their voices for jobs and justice.

He wrote about moments that shook our nation to the core, like the one he witnessed sitting in the press bus on Nov. 22, 1963 when President Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas.

He wrote in the same newsroom as Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein when they were breaking news stories about Watergate.

He wrote about the minutia of government, the subcommittees, state party chairs and county get-out-the-vote operations that built legacies.

He wrote about the myriad of characters he encountered in his travels, consistently logging over 100,000 miles travelled yearly in planes, trains and press buses.

He wrote passionately about presidents and their campaigns, loving the time he spent on the trail in small towns in New Hampshire, suburbs in Michigan and cities in California.

He wrote about the voters he met outside of public libraries and knocking on doors. He felt that their stories, their hopes, their fears were the most important because they are the deciding voice in the direction of our country.

He wrote for himself, his readers and the public because he loved his work and was committed to telling American stories with the dignity and respect they deserve.

He loved this country and he did his best to share his own experiences as part of a way to inform and elevate our collective understanding of ourselves and our system of government.

He never wrote that the events he saw with his own two eyes were fraudulent.

He never wrote that an election was rigged without any credible evidence.

He never wrote extensively about women’s looks and made up crime statistics about African-Americans.

He never wrote about white nationalism in a glowing light.

He never wrote about conspiracy theories as a way to attack families of politicians.

He never wrote disparaging words about immigrants.

He never wrote a word of treason, vitriolic ignorance or xenophobic hate.

He was the hardest working man I’ve ever known, whose work ethic was only outmatched by his humility and his patriotism.

He was not an enemy of the American people.

He gave his professional life to the American people. Since 1992, 1,200 reporters have made the ultimate sacrifice in the line of duty to inform our planet.

To write otherwise is to declare war on the humanity and freedom of journalists and the people they serve.

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