Cronkite wins Truman neighbor award

? Journalist Walter Cronkite said the world could benefit from former President Harry S. Truman’s advice.

“Wouldn’t it be a wonderful miracle if we could possibly bring Harry back to give us some advice?” Cronkite said. “What a guy he was.”

The 87-year-old broadcaster received the Harry S. Truman Good Neighbor Award at the award foundation’s 52nd annual birthday luncheon on Friday. The event commemorates the former president, whose birthday would have been Saturday.

“I’m not falsely modest when I say that I don’t know what my community service has been,” he said. “Except to be a good reporter and a fair reporter.”

As a United Press reporter during World War II, Cronkite covered the battle of the North Atlantic in 1942 and was one of the first journalists to fly in B-17 raids over Germany. He covered the Nuremberg war crime trials and later joined CBS in 1949.

After leaving the network in 1981, Cronkite was host of several documentary programs for the network and was inducted into the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences Hall of Fame in 1985.

Cronkite, who was born in St. Joseph and lived in Kansas City for 10 years, said that being a good neighbor extended beyond those who live next door.

“Today, it’s across the oceans and around the world,” he said. “We desperately need friends like we’ve never needed them before.”

The event also served as a family reunion for Cronkite, whose cousin is Kansas City Mayor Kay Barnes.

Past recipients of the Good Neighbor Award include former President Gerald Ford (1977) and former Gen. Norman Schwarzkopf (2000).