Photo credit: Damon Winter/The New York Times
Mario Cuomo was laid to rest today.
I am blessed that I have a blog where I can pay tribute to someone I thought was a great human being. Mario Cuomo symbolized a greatness of spirit and conscience that few men hold or cherish today. Mario Cuomo was a poet. advocate, crusader. He was a humble man, of deep ethical and moral fiber. There have not been too many times in my life that I have so greatly revered and admired a public figure.
Among the thousands of mourners who waited in a block-long line for almost 2 hours at the wake yesterday there were political proteges, ordinary citizens like myself, and opponents, all who deeply loved and respected this man. I think he inspired generations, folks from every walk of life. People reminisced about his great oratory, intellect and biting humor. Many of the mourners were New Yorkers who held framed pictures of Cuomo standing beside them in their younger years, or of him with their children.
Father Witt officiated at St. Ignatius Loyola Church on Park Avenue in New York City at 11AM today to a packed church where mourners heard readings by granddaughters, a funeral mass and final words by Governor Andrew Cuomo, Mario Cuomo’s son. This eulogy to his father was the best speech I believe he has ever given.
Andrew Cuomo talked about his father’s many qualities, how he loved the challenge of the press, how he railed against reporters he thought were untruthful, sometimes calling them as early as 7am. Mario Cuomo lead the good fight for love, said his son. He was tenacious, competitive, a strong man; he was really really tough. He talked about his fierce competitiveness in his love of basketball.
Mario Cuomo loved Teilhard de Chardin, a Jesuit theologian. Mario was also a Lincoln scholar. Mario was a religious man, but he separated his personal views from his professional responsibilities. He was against the death penalty, he was for a woman’s right to choose, even though he was a devout Catholic. He was a working-man’s governor.
His family was everything to him. But he lived his private life exactly as he lived his public life. He was simple, principled. Duty and honor were everything.
This is a great loss for those of us who do not see anyone on the horizon with these great qualities. It feels like not only a deep personal loss, but a loss for the people of New York State and the nation.
After Mario Cuomo was no longer governor, ME and MARIO was on WAMC radio for 18 years. I always listened to the Sunday night broadcast. Thank you Dr. Alan Chartock for that memorable program.
Goodbye dear wonderful Mario.