It was perhaps a simpler time, when families ate dinner together and part of it was having the CBS news playing in the background. Maybe some had the NBC Huntley/Brinkley report playing, as was my families preference. But whatever, it was a time when network news was vital and we all trusted the anchors.
As macmom said, it is like losing a member of the family...like having an uncle or great-grandfather die.
It shows the respect this man had among us, that we think of him in this way.