April 01, 2004
The legendary British broadcaster died early Tuesday, March 30, just weeks after retiring at age 95. Cooke was perhaps best-known for his weekly "Letter from America" on the BBC, which has aired Monday afternoons at 2:40 here WILL-AM. Mr. Cooke brought deep personal insight to reporting, a neater trick than is commonly appreciated. His reporting on America helped interpret our politics and culture to the rest of the work...and helped Americans see better how they are viewed by a critical but friendly outsider. "In America," he said, "the race is on between its decadence and its vitality, and it has lots of both." The BBC has given WILL permission to make available the RealAudio archive of BBC's Special Remembrance of Alistair Cooke. As I listened to his Letter From America commentaries over the past couple of years, I often thought I detected a note of sadness in his voice for what the opportunities we have missed, and the follies we presume to be wisdom. The passing of Alistair Cooke should remind us of the relevance of a personal point of view, and bearing witness to our time on this rapidly changing planet. He made a positive difference, and that's as good a legacy as any.
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