When we get older, we get constant reminders of how things used to be and the things that shaped us as we became young adults and began to raise families. We get reminded of constants that we thought were always going to be there that we suddenly find gone.
I first became aware of Rush Limbaugh when I was about fifteen years old. I was spending the summer with an aunt and uncle in Idaho, and would long amount of time in the car in between Boise and where they lived. Sometimes, the only radio station you would get at a given moment would be one playing Rush’s radio show. His way of explaining things in a manner that gave you what you needed to hear, not what you wanted to hear all of the time, and in an entertaining manner definitely helped me figure out some of the issues of the day.
Years later, I hadn’t heard the show in ages due to not being able to find it when I wasn’t at school. Then I joined the military after high school and within a couple of years, I found myself bobbing up and down on a massive ship, thousands of miles away from home. Every radio station you could get, if you were close enough, was in another language.
I got an email one day from that same aunt I spent the summer with asking if there was anything I wanted to send special. I said to her a tape of Rush Limbaugh’s show would be nice. She took an entire week’s worth of shows, recorded them, cut out the commercials, and put them on tapes for me. It was a morale booster that I didn’t know I needed. Just hearing something that sounded like it came from back home was a shot in the arm.
So Rush, from that 20-year-old kid back then, and the 40-year-old man writing this now….thanks for all of it.
Rush Limbaugh, the monumentally influential media icon who transformed talk radio and politics in his decades behind the microphone, helping shape the modern-day Republican Party, died Wednesday morning at the age of 70 after a battle with lung cancer, his family announced.
Limbaugh’s wife, Kathryn, made the announcement on his radio show. “Losing a loved one is terribly difficult, even more so when that loved one is larger than life,” she said. “Rush will forever be the greatest of all time.”
The radio icon learned he had Stage IV lung cancer in January 2020 and was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Trump at the State of the Union address days later. First lady Melania Trump then presented America’s highest civilian honor to Limbaugh in an emotional moment on the heels of his devastating cancer diagnosis.
“Rush Limbaugh: Thank you for your decades of tireless devotion to our country,” President Trump said during the address.
Limbaugh is considered one of the most influential media figures in American history and has played a consequential role in conservative politics since “The Rush Limbaugh Show” began in 1988. Perched behind his Golden EIB (Excellence in Broadcasting) Microphone, Limbaugh spent over three decades as arguably both the most beloved and polarizing person in American media.
The program that began 33 years ago on national syndication with only 56 radio stations grew to be the most listened-to radio show in the United States, airing on more than 600 stations, according to the show’s website. Up to 27 million people tuned in on a weekly basis and Limbaugh has lovingly referred to his passionate fan base as “Dittoheads,” as they would often say “ditto” when agreeing with the iconic radio host.
In his final radio broadcast of 2020, Limbaugh thanked his listeners and supporters, revealing at the time that he had outlived his prognosis.
“I wasn’t expected to be alive today,” he said. “I wasn’t expected to make it to October, and then to November, and then to December. And yet, here I am, and today, got some problems, but I’m feeling pretty good today.”