iOS app Android app More

Maria Shriver At Tim Russert Memorial (VIDEO)

Huffington Post   First Posted: 06/26/08 06:12 AM ET Updated: 05/25/11 01:35 PM ET

Rm

Maria Shriver spoke at Tim Russert's memorial service Wednesday afternoon at the Kennedy Center. Watch the speech below (transcript below):

Watch Tom Brokaw's speech at Tim Russert's memorial.

Watch Al Hunt's speech at Tim Russert's memorial.

Watch Betsy Fischer's speech at Tim Russert's memorial.

Watch Sister Lucille's speech at Tim Russert's memorial.

Watch Mario Cuomo's speech at Tim Russert's memorial.

Watch Mike Barnicle's speech at Tim Russert's memorial.

Watch Brian Williams' speech at Tim Russert's memorial.

Watch Doris Kearns Goodwin's speech at Tim Russert's memorial.

Watch Luke Russert's speech at Tim Russert's memorial.

Watch Bruce Springsteen's surprise performance at Tim Russert's memorial.

Transcript of Maria Shriver speech:

MARIA SHRIVER, FORMER COLLEAGUE OF TIM RUSSERT: Hi, I'm Maria
Shriver, and I'm a friend of Tim's.

I've always wanted to go to a love fest. This isn't exactly hat I had
in mind, but the truth is I wouldn't want to be anywhere else at this
moment, which just shows you how important it is to get out of your
mind and into your heart. My heart led me here today, as I know it's
the same for all of you.

You see, I lost my heart to Timmy Russert the day I met him. And the
entire time I knew him, he took care of it. He protected my heart
when it needed protection. He nurtured it when it needed care. And
he helped it grow. And he never, ever broke it. A rare man indeed.
I remember so well the day I showed up to work at NBC News. I had
been fired two months earlier by CBS News. That's another story. But
I walked in these doors of 30 Rock, and I have to admit, I was wounded
and quite scared. And Tim came up to me, put a big arm around me and
said, took me to the side and he whispered, "Look, I was also educated
by the nuns. I was educated by the Jesuits. I'm Irish Catholic, too.
There aren't that many of us here in this building." He said, "But
if we stick together, we'll be just fine."

I looked at him, and there was a little twinkle in his eye, but I knew
he wasn't kidding. And I knew then and there that I had just gotten
the last thing that I wanted in the world, but the thing I really
needed: another brother.

You see, I have four brothers already, so I know a little bit from
what I speak. Brothers have an uncanny ability to make you think that
you're nothing without them. Somehow brothers make you believe that
you need them to make every decision in your life, large and small.
That you can't go anywhere without their protection or make any
decision without their input. I'll bet Tim's sisters would agree that
Tim was exactly this kind of brother.

I remember back when I scored an interview with Fidel Castro and I was
going to Cuba. Tim came down from his vice president's office. He
wasn't on the air at the time. And he came down to congratulate me.
He sat down in the chair and started to talk to me. And by the time
he was finished, he had convinced me that I couldn't go to Cuba
without him, this despite the fact that I had traveled all over the
world interviewing people before I ever met Tim Russert. But he
somehow convinced me that I couldn't make the trip without him.
He went on to convince me that I couldn't even do the interview
without him. That I didn't know how to interview, even though I had
just come from anchoring the live morning show and interviewed scores
of newsmakers on my own.

By the time he left my office, he had convinced me that it was he, not
I, who had booked the interview and that it was he who had actually
sweated through all 13 days of the Cuban missile crisis alongside my
uncles in the White House.

The truth is, Tim prepared for that interview as though he were on the
air. He studied all the briefing books that were made. He called up
all the experts to the point when I would actually get them on the
phone. They would say, "I don't have to talk to you. We've already
briefed Tim Russert. Go talk to him."

I marveled. I thought to myself, "Isn't that so sweet of Timmy? He
wants to help me. He wants to make me shine." I didn't get it. He
just wanted to go to Cuba and meet Castro. He didn't care at all
about me.

In fact when we actually got to Cuba and Castro summoned us to his
office in the middle of the night, Tim was the first one out of the
door and the last one to leave the office. And when Castro actually
said to me, "OK, now I'm ready to do the interview" Tim was sitting in
the chair. And I said, "Tim, I'm doing the interview. Could you get
up?"

He goes, "Oh, just checking the lighting for you. I wasn't planning
on sitting here."

But he so loved being in the middle of the action. He so loved seeing
history up close. And he loved to have stories to come back and share
with everybody, to make you laugh, to make you feel as though you were
there. Tim loved his life, and he loved life.

I'm sure every single person in this auditorium today has an
extraordinary story about Tim. A story that would make us all laugh
and a story that would touch us and probably make us cry. That's
because Tim got into our lives. Deep into our lives. He knew about
our troubles. He knew about our struggles. He knew about our
triumphs. He knew about our families.

Not too long ago, he called me when he heard that my daughter was
interested in applying to Boston College. And he said, "Look, Maria,
it's competitive at Boston College. You need to know people in
Boston.

You need to know people"-yes, yes. He said, "You need to know people
in the Catholic Church. You need me if you want your daughter to get
into BC."

I thanked him profusely and said, "Oh, my God. You're so right. I
grew up on the Cape. I don't know a person in Boston. And I've been
educated in Catholic schools, and I don't know anybody in the church.
Thank you, Tim. Please, make sure my daughter gets into Boston
College." She didn't.

Anyway-she's going to kill me for saying that. She got wait-listed.
OK. Anyway, she's going to USC. Anyway, but Tim liked to help.
That's a true story. I'm sorry, Katherine.

But he loved helping people. He loved helping people who worked for
him. He loved helping strangers. He loved anybody who he thought he
could help. And with that same Russert radar, he just knew who among
us needed his help.

When my uncle had a seizure a few weeks ago, the first phone call I
got after my other brother Timmy was from Tim. He called me up and
said, "How's Teddy doing?" And I talked to him. And then he said,
"Now talk to me about you. Who's with you? How are you? What can I
do for you? Are you all right?"

When my mother was going in and out of intensive care this past year,
Tim kept tabs on her and on me. He talked with me about losing his
own mother. He talked to me about what he felt, how hard it was for
him. He talked to me about where he found support, about the role of
his faith in that struggle. He shared his struggle with me so that
mine would be a little bit easier.

And because he was so devoted to his dad, he always called to check on mine.

MARIA SHRIVER, FMR. COLLEAGUE OF TIM RUSSERT: He loved helping people.
He loved helping people who worked for him. He loved helping
strangers. He loved anybody who he thought he could help. And with
that famous Russert radar, he just knew who among us needed his help.
When my uncle had a seizure a few weeks ago, the first phone call I
got after my other brother, Timmy, was from Tim. He called me up and
said, How's Teddy doing? And I talked to him. And then he said, Now,
talk to me about you. Who's with you? How are you? What can I do
for you? Are you all right?

When my mother was going in and out of intensive care this past year,
Tim kept tabs on her and on me. He talked with me about losing his
own mother. He talked to me about what it felt, how hard it was for
him. He talked to me about where he found support, about the role of
his faith in that struggle. He shared his struggle with me so that
mine would be a little bit easier.

And because he was so devoted to his dad, he always called to check on
mine. Tim and Maureen have a special place in my dad, Sarge's, life.
And they would always call to find out how he was. And even when I
would come into town and it was a Saturday night and invite them to
come over, they always did. And my dad was always, and is always, so
proud of Maureen, that she was one of the first women in this country
to enlist in the Peace Corps, that she was so brave.

And every time she would come over, he'd marvel at her and the school
that was named after her and the legacy that she created. And he'd
always say, I like that guy she married, as well. And every time Tim
would come over, my mother would say when he left, Now, that's the
kind of jolly Irish Catholic boy I always thought you would marry.
What happened?

(LAUGHTER)

SHRIVER: That's true. But that's another story, too.

(LAUGHTER)

SHRIVER: Tim was family. And his family is our family. And it
really touched me that after I left NBC News, Tim always made sure
that I felt as though I were still a part of the NBC family. At the
last presidential conventions, which were the first ones that I didn't
work at, he called me on my cell phone and he said, Look, I know
you're here at the Republican convention, and I'm thinking you might
be feeling a little out of sorts in this new role of yours. So come
on up here to the booth and hang with Tom and I and we'll just kind of
kibbitz. And bring your kids, and you'll be comfortable up here until
you have to go down and hear Arnold's speech, where you'll sit with
all the Republicans. But sit up here with us because you'll be
comfortable here. And he was right.

He always made me feel comfortable, and I know every single person in
this room can identify with that because he always wanted all of us to
feel comfortable with what we were doing, with the stories that we
were sharing with him. That's what he wanted us to feel.

And so here we are, feeling anything but comfortable, feeling lost,
feeling sad, not understanding why we're here and Tim isn't.
You know, every morning, I begin my day reading a prayer from St.
Teresa, and it begins like this. It says, May today there be peace
within. May you trust God that you are exactly where you are meant to
be.

Still, it is hard for to us comprehend why we are meant to be here and
Tim is not. Having lived through more than a few losses that defy
understanding, I've learned that asking why doesn't help. The only
thing that does help is leaning on your friends and leaning on your
family, opening your heart, crying, and keeping your loved one alive
in your heart and alive in your stories. And it helps to have faith,
like Tim.

All of us here were meant to witness Tim's life. We were meant to be
touched by it. We were meant to be touched by his humor, by his love,
by his faith, by his idealism, by his passion, and most of all, by his
compassion. Tim Russert had a larger than normal heart. Maybe it's
because we were all occupying so much space in it, with the biggest
part reserved for his family, Maureen and Luke, his incredible
sisters, his mom, and of course, Big Russ.

Maureen and Luke, I'd like to thank you for sharing Tim with everybody
in this room, with everybody in this country. You were the light of
his life. For me, as a woman, it was a beautiful thing to behold the
love he had for you, for your family, and the love that he had, the
extraordinary capacity he had to love all of us and to make us feel
loved.

Tim, I want to thank you up there in heaven for making room in your
heart for me. I will be forever grateful.

A few years ago, when my cousin died, John, in an unexpected way, I
was given a poem by a friend that helped me through some pretty dark
days. It gave me some peace within whenever I thought about him in a
faraway place, that I would be unable to see him or talk to him again.
I read it many, many times and I thought I could share it with all of
you today with the hope that it might also give you some peace within.
It goes like this:

I stood watching as the little ship sailed out to
sea. The setting sun tinted its white sails with a golden light.
And as it disappeared from view, a voice at my side whispered, He is
gone. But the sea was a narrow one, and on the furthest shore, a
little band of friends had gathered to watch in happy expectation.
Suddenly, they caught sight of the tiny sail. And at the very moment
when my companion had whispered, He is gone, a glad shout went up in
joyous welcome with the words, yes, here he comes!

God bless you. God bless you, Tim. Thank you.

(APPLAUSE)

FOLLOW HUFFPOST MEDIA