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Goodbye, American! A tribute to Paul Harvey
The last day of February found Americans in all 50 states grieving the death of a 90-year-old man whose voice was most unique. On Feb. 28, our nation lost a giant. Paul Harvey was our country’s most popular newsman.
From the time he left Tulsa as a young reporter until he established himself as a household name broadcasting from the 16th floor studio in downtown Chicago, Paul Harvey positioned himself as a man of conservative values and moral convictions with a distinctive perspective on current events. Through his twice-daily newscasts and his ever-popular “The Rest of the Story” segments, Mr. Harvey left his faith-based imprint on millions of Americans.
Amazingly, I had the privilege of spending time with Mr. Harvey twice. Twelve years ago, I was an in-studio guest during his midday newscast in Chicago. Two years ago, I enjoyed a 30-minute stroll with him in Phoenix. I even remember when he visited my hometown of Wenatchee, Wash., 45 years ago and originated his nationwide broadcast from our local radio station. Though I was just a kid in junior high school, his visit seemed like the president had come to town.
Like the famous apostle whose name he bore, Paul Harvey’s message has impacted millions. And as was true of Saint Paul, his words will continue to live on. Whether spoken or written, his daily epistles were missals of truth and life sprinkled with grace and peace. He reported on what others failed to see (or refused to). He would not simply give the headlines related to our sin-tinged world. To him, the top of the front page was rarely the bottom line of truth. There was always “the rest of the story.”
At long last, what was typically limited to four imaginative pages of a 15-minute broadcast, there is finally a fifth and final page. The man who we heard daily on stations across the country is himself experiencing the rest of the story. He has discovered the ultimate rest stop on the adventure of a lifetime. We clergymen call it eternal rest.
And while those who loved this legendary broadcaster struggle with feelings of loss this week, Paul Harvey has gained what no one can ever take from him: Life after death with the very One who conquered death through his post-crucifixion resurrection.
In a world dominated by tragic headlines, this is the ultimate in good news. And if he had the means, Paul Harvey would find the opportunity to broadcast from Heaven. Complete with his inimitable voice and pregnant pauses, Paul would likely quote from his namesake’s letter to the Christ-followers in first-century Rome: "And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit, who lives in you" (Romans 8:11 NIV).
Because of my hope in life beyond the grave, I anticipate seeing Paul Harvey again. In light of that, I do not simply bid him goodbye. Rather, I employ two little words that comprised his signature for seven decades and simply say, “Good day!”
Greg Asimakoupoulos is the pastor of Mercer Island Covenant Church and contributes regularly to the Reporter.