This is so very sad.
I remember when I moved to Washington, some friends and I went to grab a few drinks at the Brickskeller bar on the east side of Dupont Circle with some friends. It was the day of the funeral of former Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan and all the dignitaries were in town for the funeral. Moynihan’s successor Sen. Hillary Clinton was there as was President Bill Clinton, other former Presidents were there as were the who’s who of Washington. The beautiful ceremony from the National Cathedral was televised and it was a very dignified affair.
A few hours later as my friends and I were being lead by hte bar’s host to the back room, we saw a group of well dressed people in the back room. One of those people was Tim Russert. Russert who had been a staffer for Moynihan was leading the group in telling old stories of the Senator and at one point they broke out into the song “Hooray for Hollywood.” I went to the host and confirmed that we were allowed to be there, as this seemed to be a private moment. He assured me that it was ok because they had not reserved the room. Not only that, the host told me that Russert comes in all the time for beers. I don’t think the host recognized why this day was different from other visits to the bar. My friends and I stayed for a little longer to catch a glimpse of this private moment, but recognized that this was something that should remain a private affair, excused ourselves and went into another place in the bar.
I’ll never forget that moment as I saw this television icon in real life. While I never spoke with Russert or have seen him in person since, I know tonight, I’ll have a beer for Tim Russert as he did Sen. Patrick Daniel Moynihan.