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Paul Harvey: American Hero

John W. Pinkerton


Occasionally I'll write an essay about someone I admire.  I don't waste my time or efforts on losers.  Paul Harvey passed away in February of 2009 at the age of 90.  He was a winner from his early years until his last breath.  I've chosen to
say a little about Mr. Harvey because I don't want folks to forget about him and introduce him to the youngsters who have never heard of him.  He was as American as Norman Rockwell, a national hero.

He started life in Tulsa, Oklahoma, the son of a policeman who was killed by robbers in '21.  His birth name was Paul Harvey Aurandt.  Of course, he changed  that to just “Paul Harvey” for his career.  He started in Radio sweeping the floors of a radio station.  He soon moved behind the mike and stayed there for over half a century.

My first introduction to Mr. Harvey was through his signed book, Autumn of Liberty, which my father acquired when Mr. Harvey spoke at an occasion in Alexandria, Louisiana, which was half of my home town, the other part being Pineville.  I don't know what my dad thought about Mr. Harvey and his book, but as a teenager who was soon to go off to college, I was impressed.  It offered me political guidance for many years, and I still have it somewhere around the house.

Although Mr. Harvey published a number of books through the years, his forte was radio broadcasting.  Over the years he had a number of different radio broadcast, but the one which I absolutely loved was The Rest of the Story, a blend of mystery and history, a brief broadcast which appeared six days a week.  It continued for thirty-three years.  When traveling I always tried to find the local broadcast of his program.  He became well known for catch phrases such as, “Hello Americans, this is Paul Harvey.  Stand by for the news,” and “Paul Harvey…Good Day,” and coined and popularized the phrases “skyjack,” “Reaganomics,” and “guesstimate.”   He would usually conclude his broadcast with a humorous story with a twist at the end preceded by, “Now, for the rest of the story.”

Part of his appeal was his distinctive and fabulous radio voice.  Another part of his appeal was rock-bottom American patriotism.

You can tell a lot about the man by the friends who substituted for him on his program: Mike Huckabee, his son Paul Aurandt, Jr., Mitt Romney, and Tony Snow among many other fine folks.  Speaking of friends, they included J. Edgar Hoover and Reverend Billy Graham.

Of course there was a lot more to Mr. Harvey's life: he was a WWII veteran, long- time pilot, and more importantly, he shared his life with a wonderful lady, Lynne, who along with Paul was a faithful church goer and a great manager of his career.

Paul won't be forgotten if for no other reason because of his on-air essays such as “If I Were the Devil...”:

If I were the devil . . .

If I were the devil . . .

I would gain control of the most powerful nation in the world;

I would delude their minds into thinking that they had come from man's effort, instead of God's blessings;

I would promote an attitude of loving things and using people, instead of the other way around;

I would dupe entire states into relying on gambling for their state revenue;

I would convince people that character is not an issue when it comes to leadership;

I would make it legal to take the life of unborn babies;

I would make it socially acceptable to take one's own life, and invent machines to make it convenient;

I would cheapen human life as much as possible so that the life of animals are valued more than human beings;

I would take God out of the schools, where even the mention of His name was grounds for a lawsuit;

I would come up with drugs that sedate the mind and target the young, and I would get sports heroes to advertise them;

I would get control of the media, so that every night I could pollute the mind of every family member for my agenda;

I would attack the family, the backbone of any nation.

I would make divorce acceptable and easy, even fashionable. If the family crumbles, so does the nation;

I would compel people to express their most depraved fantasies on canvas and movie screens, and I would call it art;

I would convince the people that right and wrong are determined by a few who call themselves authorities and refer to their agenda as politically correct;

I would persuade people that the church is irrelevant and out of date, and the Bible is for the naive;

I would dull the minds of Christians, and make them believe that prayer is not important, and that faithfulness and obedience are optional;

I guess I would leave things pretty much the way they are.

As I said, Paul Harvey: American hero.