Accolades for Cronkite from Deep in Space

Astronauts aboard the space shuttle Endeavour paid tribute to legendary CBS News anchor Walter Cronkite from the International Space Station.

Mark Polansky, the commander of shuttle Endeavour, said, "We thought we'd be remiss in not recognizing him for what he meant to a bunch of us who happened to grow up in an era where early astronauts, and Mercury, Gemini and Apollo, were going off."

Cronkite died Friday at the age of 92.

Forty years ago, Cronkite reported on the moon landing.

He since told CBS News that, when the lunar lander set down on the moon, he was speechless. "I really couldn't say a thing," Cronkite recalled. His only words: "Whew, boy!"

But, as CBS News correspondent Randall Pinkston said on "The Early Show" Monday, Cronkite did have a way of speaking up about some issues of his time -- such as Vietnam.

And, says Pinkston, on the "rare occasions when Cronkite voicred an opinion," such as on Vietnam, "the nation took notice."

Cronkite said in an on-air commentary, "It is increasingly clear to this reporter that the only rational way out (of Vietnam) will be to negotiate."
His stand was seen as pivotal in the movement of U.S. puboic opinion of that war.

But, says Pinkston, Cronkite is most often remembered for his standard of unwavering trust with the viewing public.

President Barack Obama said of Cronkite, "In an era before blogs and e-mail, cell phones, and cable, he was the news. Walter invited us to believe in him, and he never let us down."

But to many, Cronkite was much more than just an anchor.

Don Hewitt, the creator of "60 Minutes" said, "Walter became not only everyone's anchorman, he was everybody's minister, priest and rabbi."

Private services for Cronkite's funeral will be held Thursday at St. Bartholomew's Church in New York. Pinkston said plans for a public memorial in New York are under way.

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