Christian radio personality Paul Harvey passed away February 28, 2009. It was like loosing an old family friend.
No one in my family actually knew Paul Harvey, but he was always there. Growing up in a military home, we did our share of moving, but wherever we lived, Paul Harvey was there on Armed Forces Network or the local radio stations. When we lived in New Jersey for a year when I was six, Paul Harvey was there, and when we moved to Washington, D.C. for five years, Paul Harvey was there, too. When we went on vacation, we always took Paul Harvey with us. When we moved back to Tennessee, I wasn’t surprised to turn on the radio and discover Paul Harvey was there, too.
His voice was as familiar to me as any family member’s. It took one syllable to recognize his distinctive voice. Paul Harvey talked about common sense things. His philosophy closely paralleled my own father’s. Paul Harvey railed against high taxes, big government and the decay of American family values. And much like my father, Paul Harvey told interesting tales and yarns on the radio that always had a moral or lesson, even if it was about the faithfulness of man’s best friend. “News and Comment” and “The Rest of the Story” made Paul Harvey a household name.
Paul Harvey was born Paul Harvey Aurandt on September 4, 1918. He was the product of five generations of Baptist preachers, but Paul Harvey delivered his message from a radio studio, not a church. In 1933, at a high school teacher’s suggestion, Paul Harvey started working at KVOO radio in Tulsa, and he stayed in radio for over 70 years.
In 1940, Harvey was in Hawaii covering the United States Navy’s fleet in the Pacific. While returning to the mainland from his assignment in Hawaii, the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor, so Paul Harvey enlisted in the United States Army Air Forces from December 1943 until March 1944. My father also served in the Army Air Force as well as the regular Army, during World War II.
In 1951, his Chicago radio newscast went national, which is why Paul Harvey was always there. I guess at some point in time, Paul Harvey became a surrogate father figure when I was away from home. So when I went off to college, graduated, and got my own place, is it any surprise to learn I took Paul Harvey with me? I found Paul Harvey’s take on life reassuring, his voice familiar, his folksiness comforting, his faith inspiring, and his logic almost always irrefutable.
As someone who enjoys the old-time values of “The Andy Griffith Show,” I was almost always in synch with Paul Harvey’s broadcasts. A favorite of mine was broadcast in January of 1998 and started with these words:
Since television ran away from home…it has been wandering…searching…trying to find it’s way back to Mayberry. These days, whatever I’m watching, I’m unfulfilled. I can close my eyes and smell the crayons in Miss Crump’s classroom. I can smell the bay rum in Floyd’s Barber Shop. When I open my eyes, I see mostly mayhem. And Charlene Darling would say “that makes me cry.”
Harvey lost his voice in May of 2001, and he told Worldnetdaily he credited God with his healing:
You remember Jesus had prescribed for his disciples a perfect prayer, the essence of which is ‘Thy will be done.’ My prayers so often had been a shopping list of things I wanted to be done, and I began to pray for what He wanted.
And doors began to open. I was led to a voice specialist. An outpatient procedure reinforced a weakened muscle alongside a vocal cord and within minutes, the voice which had been mostly mute for weeks came back to life.
Paul Harvey once said that the best advice he ever got was from someone who told him, “As long as you’re trying to be somebody else, the best you can hope for is to be second best.” Paul Harvey determined to be one of a kind, and he certainly succeeded.
And now you know the rest of the story.
See also: Paul Harvey – The Rest of His Story
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