Walter Cronkite, peace be unto him, was a hero of mine when I was a kid. We always watched Walter's broadcast and news specials. He had a nifty series about science after he retired. I loved how he would sign off whith "And that's the way it was...", and you knew that it really had been the way he had presented it. Nobody has ever even come close to Walter as a news anchor. I reckon nobody ever will.
I grew up in Appalachia and had a pretty thick brogue, and I knew that I would have to learn standard English to have any hope of getting out of my crappy hometown. Walter Cronkite was my model. I stood in front of a mirror for hours practicing saying things the way Walter Cronkite did. Before long, I had a pretty good mastery of standard English, and I was even able to bring my own rhythm to it rather than simply mimicking Walter and sounding like a bad Rich Little impersonation.
To this day, I can speak standard English like a native, and people are often surprised to learn that I'm a Southron. The only difficulties I have are when I'm a little drunk or tired and when I am called upon to read aloud. I don't know why reading aloud is so much harder in Standard than in South Midland. Anyway, thanks be to Walter Cronkite for helping me get the hell out of Dalton, GA.