Women’s Wear Daily
04.20.2014
fashion-memopad
fashion-memopad

Memo Pad: Remembering David... Backing Katie... Do Or Don't...

The pews of Riverside Church were packed Tuesday afternoon with the friends and admirers of Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist David Halberstam, who died in a car accident on April 23.

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REMEMBERING DAVID: The pews of Riverside Church were packed Tuesday afternoon with the friends and admirers of Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist David Halberstam, who died in a car accident on April 23. Kurt Andersen, Terry McDonnell, Victor Navasky, Joan Didion, Ralph Nader, Joe Lelyveld, Richard Holbrooke, Frank Rich and Ken Auletta represented a small sampling of the literary, political and journalistic heavyweights who turned out. Honorary pallbearers included Graydon Carter, David Remnick, Ben Bradlee and Calvin Trillin.

Paul Simon noted he often would watch Yankees games with Halberstam, as well as the Giants, Mets and Knicks. Even though Halberstam was a lifelong Red Sox fan, Simon said, "I have no Ted Williams song," before singing a quiet rendition of "Mrs. Robinson." Peter Yarrow of Peter, Paul & Mary sang "Sweet Survivor" and talked about his longtime friendship with Halberstam, remembering how the two lived in the same building and how their two small dogs often got into tiffs.

Tributes were given covering almost every phase of Halberstam's career, from the early Vietnam years to his last book to be published this fall, called "The Coldest Winter," about the Korean War. Ralph Hockley, a Korean War veteran, talked about the fast friendship and trust built during the series of long interviews and research he did with Halberstam. Several speakers said Halberstam felt it was his best book ever — although one friend laughed, "David always said that about all his books…."

Doris Kearns Goodwin cited the lesson of Halberstam's life as being his ability to balance work, love and play. As for his work, tributes praised the late journalist's ability to immerse himself in the subjects he covered. "He became one of us," Congressman John Lewis said of Halberstam's reporting during the civil rights movement. Fireman Sean Newman commented on Halberstam's delight when many in the firehouse who were the subject of his book "Firehouse" didn't know who the journalist was, but he quickly became absorbed as "one of the family." Neil Sheehan recounted the partnership the two formed during their Vietnam War years — Sheehan with AP and Halberstam with The Times — as they shared a desk in Saigon in 1963.
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