Commanding yet quiet. Smooth charismatic Presence. Ariel Melchior Sr. was always there.
And now, Absence.
Mindful of his endearing spirit of counsel, what do you say about an icon that stood for words – those written, spoken and held close to heart? All such words in some way or another have been said over the last few days since his passing. Cliché-ish or not.
Senior (as he was known by some of us) used to say, "Never create a void you can't fill." But, wouldn't you know it: Today we indeed feel that very void.
And the very Absence of Senior's Presence will forever be felt in our hearts, minds and soul of the Virgin Islands that he so craftily helped to mold into a modern-day society.
A statesman's statesman. A governor's governor. The consummate watchman that reports the "out of ordinary." The Publisher who had his community's interest always at heart.
That The Daily News, in his typical vision and imagination, remains as bold as it is today, in itself speaks to the monument of a hardened legacy of world-class community journalism and political steerage from the power of the pen. After all, Senior also reminded us in the newsroom that we were writing history, as the "newspaper of record."
And so it was. So it is.
On a personal note: I thank Senior for my first job, The Daily News' 45th Anniversary project, and his continued guidance and encouragement to successfully pursue journalism, or as he called it – newspapering. I thank him for showing me the ropes in photography, printing and "reportage." Thank you for opening my mind and doors of opportunity. Thank you, Senior, for a long friendship.
Senior, go in peace with that warming chuckle and wide smile. Heaven needs a good newspaper. Carter is ready to roll. Save a column for me.
Washington, D.C. and St. Thomas
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MELCHIOR SR.: A PRESENCE, AND NOW AN ABSENCE
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