The Lord must
need some good company in Heaven. Recently, Tim Russert, Jesse Helms and now
Tony Snow have been called home. My pastor says that the older he becomes the
more dead people he knows. Those who leave this earth as believers end up in a
far better place without diseases, pain, grief and broken relationships. Tony
battled cancer for a long time, but he was such an optimist, such a fighter, so
courageous, so hopeful, that his death is a shock.
The one thing which characterized these
three men was their love of family. I have not met Tony’s wife and three
children, but to know him for a brief time made me feel as if I knew his family
as well. He placed them on a very high pedestal and one could not know him
without hearing about his family. The same is true of Russert with his wife and
son and of Jesse Helms with his wonderful wife, Dot, and his
Tony frequently had a smile upon his
face. He always thought of others. The first sign of a person’s good
relationship with the Almighty is the virtue of gratitude. Tony understood that
only in America could he come from relatively modest beginnings and become a
widely read newspaper columnist, a syndicated radio talk show host, a
nationally televised news anchor and Press Secretary to the President of the
United States of America. Daily he expressed gratitude for the opportunities he
had to use his God-given talent. He could not understand constant complaints
about this country. He was so grateful to live here. He always said this was the
greatest country on earth.
Recently, I was at a funeral at which
the wife of the deceased was inconsolable. When she finally brought her emotions
under control, she told me, “I’m not crying for him. I am sure he is okay. I’m
crying for me. I’m stuck here without him.” I was trying to figure out why I
felt so poorly when I learned about Tony’s untimely death early last Saturday.
Then it dawned on me that I was not upset for him, even though I know he wanted
to live to see his grandchildren. I was upset for myself. This world is a poorer
place because Tony is no longer with us. At age 53, no less. I happened to be at
the Phillips Publishing Company when it was announced that his cancer had
returned and he would have to go back to the hospital immediately. Everywhere I
turned people were crying. He was that loved. Even the media believed, I think
correctly, that he never tried to mislead them. Moreover, while always
amiable, he vigorously defended the President’s policies. He was a perfect
blend of toughness and fun, of feistiness and understanding.
President George H. W. Bush, for whom
Tony wrote speeches, said Tony demonstrated that the political process does not
have to be mean and nasty. Indeed. Roger Ailes, who hired Tony as the first host
of Fox News Sunday, said he was a man of integrity and accomplished more than
most. Officials of various political leanings paid tribute to Tony at the time
of his death. It was more than mandatory lip service. The political community
recognized that he was someone special.
Let us pray for the soul of Tony Snow,
that he may be in a place where there is no pain, no grief, no sighing, only
life everlasting. Memory
Paul M. Weyrich is Chairman and CEO of the Free Congress Foundation.