On Sunday – Father’s Day – NBC correspondent Luke Russert, son of the late Tim Russert – spoke to an audience at Politics & Prose on his new preface to his father’s book Big Russ and Me: Father and Son: Lessons of Life that pays tribute to Tim’s father, a World War II veteran.
In honor of the book’s 10th anniversary since its initial publication, Luke’s added introduction explores his father’s legacy and the lessons of his grandfather, Tim’s father.
“I wrote the preface in one sitting. I took 6.5 – 7 hours at my kitchen table in one night and just started going. All of these ideas flowed out, and it was a very cathartic experience and one that I’m really glad and fortunate I was able to do. It allowed me to compose my thoughts on how I felt as his son and what he meant to me, and put it into coherent terms.”
Russert went on to add how important it was that his father gave him as much time as he did.
“It really made me a much better person. It really helped me to realize what the important things were in life.”
Something Russert asked himself years after his father’s passing was what exactly it was about his father that resonated with so many people.
“There is an ‘every-man’ sense that God, he’d be a great guy to have a beer, he understood me. But watching how journalism operates in the TV world and seeing how it goes on a day to day basis, I realized what my father was able to do. He was able to take the most difficult issues of the day. Dwindle it down to speak and language that was understandable to people. And he also really held politicians accountable and didn’t let them get away with things.”
As a guest that morning on “Meet the Press” with David Gregory, a program his father hosted for 16 years, Russert said of Father’s Day, “It’s not easy when you see so many folks out there just hugging their fathers. And I miss him. And on the other hand, it makes me happy that people still have that close relationship with their fathers, which is something that was so very important to my dad. So for me on Father’s Day, I do a lot of self-reflection.”
“I remember a lot of the good times. And interestingly enough, because it comes so close to the day he actually passed, it’s sort of a double-whammy for me. But I find comfort in things like a baseball game. Comforts in things like grilling out and having some burgers and a few beers. And also I just find comfort in playing a little bit of Bruce Springsteen and remembering those great times.”