Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of June 23, 2003
A shining star moves into heaven
By MSGR. JIM LISANTE
They say that David Bloom had it all.
He was insightful and tenacious, creative and intelligent. As a television journalist, he had the respect of his peers and his network bosses at NBC. Growing up in Edina, Minn., his first significant job was as a reporter for WKBT-TV in La Crosse, Wisc. He quickly rose to news anchor there before heading off to stations in Wichita, Miami and Chicago.
He developed a reputation for being on the scene for big stories. In Florida, his coverage of Hurricane Andrew was legendary. He seems to have known no fear. His incisive intellect became apparent as he skillfully explained legal tactics during the O.J. Simpson trial.
In 1997, Bloom won the NBC White House correspondent's position. His gifted commentary on the controversial final years of the Clinton presidency earned him a coveted position as weekend anchor for NBC national news. David Bloom had come a long way.
There was his personal life as well, where he was fortunate in finding the right partner. In his wife Melanie, David Bloom, by all accounts, found an oasis of happiness. That joy was enhanced by the birth of Nicole, Christine and Ava. When the twins were born, David also decided to share with his Catholic wife and daughters in their journey of faith and was baptized along with his children.
At the outbreak of the Iraqi war, David Bloom felt the need to be involved, to join the front lines. He didn't want to forget what it was like to be where the news happened. He volunteered to travel with the troops.
He joined the United States Army's Third Division, Second Brigade, and reported their advance from a specially equipped armored vehicle, regularly making reports to the world from the top of that vehicle, via a mobile satellite platform. Through enemy fire and heavy sandstorms, Bloom kept the information coming. He even slept in that vehicle, in a tight space that allowed for little comfort or rest.
Those cramped conditions may have cost David Bloom his life. Just outside Baghdad, Bloom died from a pulmonary embolism. He was 39 years old.
David Bloom's young widow and children, his extended family and friends and co-workers gathered at St. Patrick's Cathedral for his Mass of Christian Burial. Among the eulogies was one offered by NBC anchor Tom Brokaw. He remembered young David Bloom as "a warrior and a journalist, a newsman's journalist and a soldier's soldier." He died at the top of his field, an admired man, willing to put himself at risk.
At that service Bloom's brother John read something that David probably never imagined would be his last dispatch. Heading into harm's way, concerned for the well being of the troops as well as his own crew, Bloom sent an e-mail to his beloved wife Melanie.
He spoke as a man who knew that life is always fragile and about what he truly treasured. He spoke with the peace of someone who knows that two great loves should always motivate a life, the love of God and the love of those he places in our lives.
He said: "I hope and pray all my guys get out of this in one piece. But I'll tell you, Mel, I am at peace. Here I am, supposedly at the peak of professional success, but I could, frankly, care less. It's nothing compared to my relationship with you and the girls and Jesus."
When we see media personalities, it's easy to imagine that their jobs, their visibility, their star status are the things that give life its meaning. David Bloom, young, talented and brave, tells us something different. He reminds us to hold fast to the things that truly matter.
David Bloom, R.I.P.
(For a free copy of the Christopher News Note, Being a Good Neighbour, write: The Christophers, 12 East 48 St., New York, NY, 10017; or e-mail: email@example.com.)
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