Monday, July 14, 2008

RIP Tony Snow

Note: I wasn't going to comment on the passing of Tony Snow, figuring much that could be said would already be said in other places. However, I received the following yesterday from Lori VanNatta, a regular reader of this blog, and I thought it was well worth sharing. - James Wigderson

God Speed, Tony Snow

Family and Friends-

By now I'm sure you have heard of the passing of Tony Snow, former Fox News journalist and member of both Bush administrations, (41 and 43).

But Tony Snow was more than those job titles. He was a wonderful man who left this world way too early. At 53, Tony leaves his wife, Jill, and their three children. If you ever watched Tony, listened to him on the radio, or read much about him, you'll know that role of husband and dad were the ones he relished most.

Yes, Tony was a Conservative. And, he was a conservative in the best meaning of the word. He believed in conserving -- he cared about our environment and the policies that would protect it for his children, mine and yours. He cared as much or more than anyone regardless of political affiliation.

He also knew that as a fiscal conservative, it was our job to reach out and help those who needed it.... He didn't wait for government funding to do it. Few people know of his work helping the starving, poverty stricken population of Kenya where he lived and volunteered for almost two years. Few people knew of Tony's volunteer efforts up until the time of his death with physically and mentally challenged children. He didn't wait for government funding---he didn't argue about the faith of the group doing the work---he pitched in and helped. He spent time ---real quality time with these youngsters. Helping to give them a brighter today and the promise of a brighter tomorrow.

And, Tony was a faith-filled believer in a power greater than us -- God. He spoke of it frequently and passionately. He knew Bible verses and referred to them often. On the Sunday after that horrible September morning in 2001, he held back tears as he closed Fox News Sunday with words invoking a faith that at that point we all needed desperately to believe in.

Perhaps the public image of Tony that always impressed me the most was that he was plain and simply an unabashed Patriot. Tony believed in the United States of America. He knew it to be the best place in the world to live, where we are blessed with the best form of government and the liberty to criticize it that people in other nations only dream of having.

I did not admire Tony just because he had my dream jobs --White House Spokesman and Fox News Anchor (he was Fox News before there was a Fox News). I admired him for the ideals I mentioned above and the fact that he lived them each and every day in all that he did.

If you had Sunday morning television on today, you probably heard some of these stories. But, I want to share one that touched me the most with Tony Snow the person:

A news reporter tells that while Tony was still White House spokesman (probably second only in stress level to the job of the person he was speaking for), Tony had recently been diagnosed with a relapse of the colon cancer that he had successfully battled several years ago -- the same disease that killed Tony's mom when Tony was only 17. This reporter had a newborn son born with serious heart abnormalities that would require complex and dangerous surgeries at a very young age. While that reporter was away from the White House for his baby son's first surgery, he noted that he heard from Tony daily...sometimes it was just a short email--one line filled with a positive thought. When the baby was on the way to recovery and after several weeks the reporter returned to the White House, after a press briefing, Tony asked the reporter back to Tony's office for a moment. Just to talk about the baby and how the young family was doing. The reporter said, Tony told me we had been in his thoughts because as a Dad, Tony knew there wasn't anything more stressful than being a parent watching your child suffer...

I hope you'll join me in taking a moment to reflect on the legacy of Tony Snow. The life and the love; the ability to disagree--agreeably; the belief in Faith and in our Country.

And, say a prayer to your God that Tony is safely in heaven receiving his just reward for living a life that we all can seek to emulate.

God Speed, Tony Snow, God Speed.