WASHINGTON (AFP) – Movers and shakers in the US capital rubbed shoulders with big-name journalists Wednesday to
bid a final farewell to former Washington Post editor Ben Bradlee.
Vice President Joe Biden and Secretary of State John Kerry were among the 2,000 mourners who joined Bradlee’s widow Sally Quinn to pay last respects to a giant of American journalism.
“He pulled off being Bradlee because he wasn’t afraid,” said Carl Bernstein, who with Bob Woodward – and Bradlee’s unwavering support – exposed the Watergate scandal that forced the resignation of president Richard Nixon in 1974.
Bradlee, added Bernstein, harbored no fear “of presidents, of polio, of political correctness, of publishing the Pentagon Papers … (and) of making mistakes.”
Bradlee, who died October 21 at the age of 93, helmed the Post from 1968 to 1991, overseeing its rise from a parochial local daily to a national beacon of journalistic excellence.
His two-hour funeral in the hilltop Episcopalian cathedral that doubles as America’s de facto national place of worship veered from the professional to the personal to the patriotic.
It started with a soloist singing Barbra Streisand’s “Evergreen,” as his coffin – draped with a silk white cloth, with a lone white rose – took its place before the alter.