I was in a helicopter hangar at Bagram Air Base in Afghanistan when I heard the news. We received an urgent message to call New York, and I asked two Apache helicopter pilots to stand outside and let me use the telephone in their ready room. At the other end of the call, our broadcast producer was in tears when she told me Tim was not breathing when they took him out on a stretcher. In our staggering, bewildered grief, we went about the business of flying home from Afghanistan, which meant an agonizingly long layover in Dubai. Beyond those of us who considered him family, I hadn’t realized the larger impact of Tim’s death until the bellman brought my bags to my hotel room. Dressed in traditional ankle-length garments and banded headpiece, he said as he left the room, “I’m so sorry about Mr. Russert.” Watching cable news from the States that night, it felt like a former president had died. Maybe that’s the lesson right there, for all of us who will never be able to wrap our heads around the fact that God wrapped his arms around our friend Tim and took him home after just 58 years here on earth with us. We live in a tough neighborhood. In tough times. There aren’t many shining examples these days—of anything. Tim was one. At least nobody can take that away from us.