Peter Jennings, ABC News Anchor, Dies at 67

Peter Jennings, ABC News Anchor, Chief Editor, and a great American, has died from Lung Cancer at age 67. For nearly all of my aware life since middle school Jennings has been my anchor of record on television. For me there was a direct line between Walter Cronkite, the voice of record from the 60s and 70s, to Jennings. I am immensely sad to hear of his passing.

Peter Jennings became a citizen of the country he loved just two years ago. But it seemed he knew us better than anyone. He was born a Canadian and took advantage of that slight disconnect to study us as an ethnographer would. He moved to live among us and report the news, grew to love us, led us through many dark nights and but also provided cheerful highs. Eventually he became us.

In April when Peter Jennings announced he would be reducing his work load to fight Lung Cancer, you could sense that it was serious. Jennings, a past smoker, had faced longtime health problems before and had hoped to return to the Anchor desk. He never did.

This weekend, when rumors started swirling around the blogosphere that ABC affiliates had been notified that Peter Jennings was at death’s door, I refused to post anything about it. Perhaps both out of respect for the man and his family, and out of disbelief. I thought of the fight Jennings put up to keep ABC News in New York City when Michael Eisner wanted to move the whole operation to Los Angeles. I thought of the masterful job Jennings did when covering an event as full of pagentry as the marriage of Diana Spencer and Prince Charles of Wales as a London correspondant to the revelations of the Fall of the Berlin Wall and the end of Communism in the West.

Jennings was at the top of his game when generaling from behing the Anchor Desk. My heart goes out to his family and friends. I will miss him. America will miss him.

For more, the New York Times, paper of record for the city that Jennings lived in and loved, has a very nice article this morning. ABC News, of course, has a detailed collection of stories. Also see CNN.

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6 Responses to Peter Jennings, ABC News Anchor, Dies at 67

  1. Peter Jennings has died

    (ABC)

    JOHN FROST OBSERVES:
    Peter Jennings became a citizen of the country he loved just two years ago. But it seemed he knew us better than anyone. He was born a Canadian and took advantage of that slight disconnect to study us as an ethnographer wo…

  2. Connie Smith says:

    One of ABC’s journalistic torches has been extingushed (Peter Jennings), but the brillance of that light from his torch will forever shine in lives all across this nation and the world. Even in death he will long be remembered. He is a legacy to the news world. Young men and women should learn that you can do and become want you want if you just have the desire and work hard to accomplish your goals. Let naught stop you (it didn’t stop Peter). May God provide comfort and the ointment of healing to his family.

  3. joyce says:

    Our family was very fortunate to be invited to bring our daughter Adora Svitak to appear on Good Morning America on Feb 23, 2005. Peter Jennings was on the show to promote his UFO documentary that day. He was extremely kind to express interest in what Adora was doing on the show. Adora has been writing since she was four years old. She was on the program to show her writing talent to the viewers. Mr. Peter Jennings showed so much interest in a little child touched us so much. We have always enjoyed watching Peter Jennings’ news show the most for many years. We deeply respect his intelligence and knowledge of the world affairs. We couldn’t never imagine to have the opportunity to meet such great person, let alone witness him showing interest in our child. What touched us the most is after he looked over what Adora was doing, he came to talk to us. After he was told that Adora enjoys learning about history, he took out his pen and write down the information and told us that he would send his history book to Adora and Adrianna. We couldn’t believe that he would care so much to take time from his extremely busy schedule to care for a young child who loves history. Adora loves his book so much and she finished in two days and she keeps reading it over and over. We owe our daughter’s present and future success to Mr. Peter Jennings. Because of his pure kindness and passion to share the knowledge of history. Our daughter becomes even more passionate about history. We just want to let the whole world know how loving, caring, generous and kind Mr. Peter Jennings is. He is the most wonderful person we have ever met! Our daughters often ask about how he is doing with his fight with his cancer. We are very hopeful that he will win the battle and come back to host the show soon. Thank you very much.

    It seems that the wonderful words about Peter Jennings will never end! I am one of the very fortunate one as well. My few minutes of talking to Peter Jennings really has changed my life and my daughter’s as well. Just a little than one month ago before he announced that he had cancer, our family met him on the site of ABC Good Morning America show. He came over to ask why our little seven year old daughter Adora Svitak was on the show. He just came back from visiting the affiliate station (Komo4 in seattle) from Seattle and found out that we are from Seattle as well. He was so friendly and enjoyable to talk to. He was very excited to find out what Adora is passionate about–Hisotry. He immediately asked for the address so he could send his book to her. He was so kind and didn’t want to leave Adora’s sister out so he wrote down her name as well. We got his signed book few days after we arrived home from NY. We will treasure the memory and the book forever!

    With the impact Peter has left for this world, for the contribution he has made in the world, it’s just not possible to think that he actually is gone. He can’t just go! His love for this country, his love for humanity is so boundless, so moving and so inspiring, he can’t just be gone! What makes a great person, so great that we all cry and feel the deep aches in our hearts? He can’t be gone, he is too great to be gone! His impact and love for all of us will never be gone!

    After I have read so many people’s postings for Peter Jennings, I further realized how blessed I have been to have the lifetime chance to meet Mr.Peter Jennings on February 23, 2005 when I was on the show to write my story live for Good Morning America. My family is a great fan of his television program World News Tonight, and I was honored to recieve his excellent History book (The Century for Young People) after Mr. Jennings was informed of my passion for history. I was so touched that he took the time to send me the book, which I enjoyed reading greatly, as it is filled with interesting facts and interviews with people who have experienced the actual events. It is the greatest book I have read, and if you know of any young people, you should make sure to get the book for them. They will learn so much from the book just like myself. I will cherish the book as well as the experience of meeting Mr.Peter Jennings for the rest of my life (I have a long life ahead of me. I am only seven). I even take a great interest in becoming a journalist myself.

    I sincerely hope that he will have a speedy recovery and I wish him the best.

    Adora Svitak

    I have been watching shows about Peter Jennings with my two children throughout the day. After viewing his incredible career, how much Peter has done for our lives, my nine year old daughter Adrianna said: “It doesn’t seem that Peter Jennings has gone, it seems that he has lived a million years.” Indeed, he has lived a million years with his intelligence, his wisdom, worldly knowledge, his generosity and love for humanity. We are so greatful that we have had Peter Jennings in our lives.
    With deep love and respect
    The Svitak Family
    Here are two poems written by seven year old Adora Svitak who had the great privilege of meeting Peter Jennings on Feb 23, 2005.(Adora was on the Good Morning America to showcase her writing skills, Mr.Peter Jennings was curious like he had always been, he spent time watching and talking to Adora, what a beautiful sight!) Adora’s life has been touched and influenced because of the love and passion Mr. Peter Jennings felt for children. We are forever grateful for Mr. Peter Jennings when he took time to send out his fabulous history book he wrote for the young people to our children. Adora loved the book so much and posted her poem on the message board.

    The Century for young people

    The book you made
    Was excellent
    It will remain in my mind forever, never to fade
    To those who haven’t read it, I pity
    For this is a great masterpiece
    Those who are buying the book now will be all jitty
    Because it is so great.

    Poem For Peter Jennings (From Adora)

    aroda Jul 10, 2005 09:13 PM

    We All Miss You

    We all miss you, so come back soon
    Even the babies are tapping the screen with silver spoons
    We all want to hear your voice
    And when we do, we shall rejoice.

    The angry housewife has got all cross
    Now the salmon’s turned to moss
    Just because you’re absent from us
    Nobody has the heart to catch the bus.

    It seems that the wonderful words about Peter Jennings will never end! I am one of the very fortunate one as well. My few minutes of talking to Peter Jennings really has changed my life and my daughter’s as well. Just a little than one month ago before he announced that he had cancer, our family met him on the site of ABC Good Morning America show. He came over to ask why our little seven year old daughter Adora Svitak was on the show. He just came back from visiting the affiliate station (Komo4 in seattle) from Seattle and found out that we are from Seattle as well. He was so friendly and enjoyable to talk to. He was very excited to find out what Adora is passionate about–Hisotry. He immediately asked for the address so he could send his book to her. He was so kind and didn’t want to leave Adora’s sister out so he wrote down her name as well. We got his signed book few days after we arrived home from NY. We will treasure the memory and the book forever!

  4. Theresa O'Driscoll says:

    I am deeply saddened by the loss of an extremely
    special man. I feel as though a beloved member of my own family is gone. His compassion, eloquence
    and incredible intelligence will be greatly missed
    by us all. My deepest sympathy to his family and
    all his co-workers who are deeply affected by his
    passing. He will never be forgotten by anyone who
    enjoyed his broadcasts, his good looks and his
    incredible abilities. What a loss for the whole
    world. I can’t bear it.

  5. Alba Medina says:

    I am a viewer of World News Tonight. I was a viewer only because of Peter Jennings. His voice was reassuarring, the way he gave us the nightly news made me feel secure. I can’t explain it but it is true. His elegance the manner in wich he spoke. He was truly a gentleman. The world and of course his family whom which I give my condolences to, has lost a wonderful soul. When I say the world I mean the world. I don’t think there is anyone we can compare him with…I cried when I heard the news, last time I cried was for Elvis..God Bless you, Mr. Jennings rest in peace. We will see you soon. All my love to the abc staff that are also hurting. It goes to show us all we can become anything if we want it bad enough. That is the lesson I have learned these sad days..:(
    Alba Medina
    Boston, Ma

  6. DaveTHouston says:

    I am a long-time viewer of ABC news both locally and nationally. I want Peter Jennings’ surviving family members to know that we miss Peter very much to this day. His steady confidence, grace, composure, and strength were something I could really count on over the years. Not just in a time of crisis…although Mr. Jennings really shined when that kind of thing occurred. He was an positive everyday influence in the lives of so many Americans. When he died, I truly felt like a close friend had died. I hurt for his family and mourned the loss myself. What an honorable and wonderful person he was.

    Sincerely,

    Dave Tyrell
    Houston, TX

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