A public memorial service was held at the Washington National Cathedral on Wednesday for Ben Bradlee, The Washington Post’s executive editor from 1968-91, a time that included the resignation of President Richard Nixon and the Watergate scandal. Bradlee died last week of natural causes at the age of 93 at his home in Washington.
The Post’s Dana Milbank wrote of the service:
“More than a thousand filled the cathedral, including scores of Post journalists current and former. Satellite trucks parked in the cathedral driveway and a dozen TV cameras were on the lawn, searching for glimpses of the luminaries inside, among them Vice President Biden, Secretary of State John Kerry, Justice Stephen Breyer, Sen. Patrick Leahy, Rep. Steny Hoyer, Tom Brokaw, Brian Williams and Jim Lehrer.”
“The constant theme through the two-hour memorial was Bradlee’s fearlessness. ‘He pulled off being Bradlee because he wasn’t afraid,’ Bernstein said. ‘Of presidents. Of polio. Of political correctness. Of publishing the Pentagon Papers. . . . Of going off to war in the Pacific. Of making mistakes.’ Bernstein contrasted that with the current environment, when ‘too many of us run afraid.'”
PostTV spoke to several attendees outside the memorial, including Bob Woodward, Carl Bernstein, Post owner Jeff Bezos, former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, and Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton.
On Tuesday, The Post announced the creation of the Ben Bradlee Award, to honor “the relentless and courageous pursuit of truth by an individual or team of Washington Post journalists,” as described in an announcement.