A little over a month ago, longtime commentator and writer Andy Rooney delivered his last segment for CBS’ 60 Minutes. “A Few Minutes with Andy Rooney” aired for 33 years, longer than I’ve been alive. One month after his final televised essay, Rooney died at 92, having written professionally for over 70 years.
Days after his death, producer John McDonough reminded us of an interview Rooney conducted on WBEZ’s The Mara Tapp Show in 1995. The occasion was the 50th anniversary of the San Francisco meeting that set up the plans for the United Nations.
On WBEZ, Rooney joined colleagues Larry LeSueur and Robert Trout to recall that day – and their experiences covering World War II.
Rooney’s writing career began on the front lines of World War II. As a correspondent for the Stars and Stripes, Rooney wrote first-hand accounts of the bombing raids on Germany, the capture of Saint-Lô, and the liberation of the Nazi concentration camps.
Rooney, who entered the war as a pacifist, credits the concentration camps with altering his opinion of World War II as a ‘just war’.
In this audio excerpt from the WBEZ conversation, Robert Trout asks Rooney if he knew about the happenings at the concentration camps before he arrived.
Here, Rooney recalls that he and other correspondents traveling with armed troops had a limited scope of the big picture of the war.
Special thanks to John McDonough for supplying archival audio of the WBEZ interview.
Finally, for a TV broadcast on the 40th anniversary of D-Day, Rooney shared a report about World War II on CBS’ Sunday Morning, framed as an informal history lesson for his grandson Justin.