Letter #4 – A personal reminiscence from Edward R. Murrow
Dear Mr. President:
The Presidential Team thought that if I were to share with you a personal remembrance of my days during WWII in London, it might help to ease the weight of your responsibilities, those now weighing on you and those to come.
I do remember the advantages of releasing my fears that deadlines could not be met – hoping that the latest reports to come in from the front lines of battle would reach my desk in time for the six p.m. news report, that for a time, I had personally broadcast via the help of the Radio Free Europe station as well as the BBC. I was taken to task to attempt explanation to my superiors in New York for my delays in relaying the European Front Page News of the day back to the States.
I cringed when on occasion I was directly confronted by the men in the trenches – for due to the war effort in general – London was a ‘holocaust of traffic alone’, both people and vehicles – and it was quite a common offense to mix up who was going to the front lines and who had just returned.
With all of our beloved Winston Churchill’s planning charts – issuing of crackerjack outfits to steel their way through jungles, deserts and eventually snowy burdened, high mountain ranges nearer the Italian borders – hardly was there a day when I could RIGHTEOUSLY EXPECT that the latest news reports would be delivered on time to my desk.
I remember well the intelligence reports alluding to such and such an item that might be better kept until all the facts were given, and on other occasion the bit by bit pieces of journalism we were given to hold, treat with journalistic respect – and always (when available) the listing of casualties – THE REPORT – as we dubbed it – and how, on every look at that ‘death warrant listing’ I cried, silently and alone.
None of it made any sense of course – not the War, not Hitler’s infamous regime. Nonetheless ‘we all carried on’, hoping someday it would be over, for in about the second year that America had fully entered into liaisonship with other like-minded nations of the globe, there indeed was a short period of time when it looked like we all just might become victims, rather than the victorious leaders we had thought would lead humanity out of the forced bondage of fascism.
Trial and error were the best instruments which God gave to us in those days, and upon my entrance to first Heaven and then afterwards to the Higher Realms of Consciousness, I ‘relived’ all over again the more memorable occasions of my last mortal lifetime when God so lovingly placed before me – a ‘job simply to be done’.
To continue with my ‘nuts and bolts’ recollection – I thought it was laughable, on the day I arrived in London, that I was to run a UPI News Room from an eight by ten congested office. No one had to tell me the level of responsibility given me, nor did I enhance or embellish my reports to the home office when I simply said – I do not have such and such – and THEY IN TURN TELETYPED BACK – NEITHER DO WE – DO THE BEST YOU CAN UNDER THE CIRCUMSTANCES, ED – GOD BLESS, KEEP US INFORMED. And there I sat, thinking all World News Reports were on my shoulders alone – for the London API and UPI offices were to become symbols of freedom and truth. Rather an arrogant attitude, wouldn’t you say? Needless to say, God worked out the redecorating and expansion of my office and my soul and my thinking, over the months. And so He will redecorate and expand your offices, your soul and your thinkings, President Obama.
May God bless the United States of America.
Edward R. Murrow
via the scribe