Born in Brooklyn, New York, he's one of our country's most respected journalists. He holds a BA from NYU and a Master's degree from the University of Chicago.

He has worked as a reporter for a Chicago NBC affiliate, CNN, ABC, CBS Radio, and for other American news services. He's currently best known for being host of the National Public Radio show Talk of the Nation and as a senior correspondent on The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer He is a member of the National Association of Hispanic Journalists.

He's got a very serious, sincere style, yet a calm, soothing voice that makes you feel like you're talking with a friend (albeit a very smart, intellectual friend.)

I was in the Marriott in Portland, Oregon, leaving on an early morning flight back to New Jersey last October (after September 11, 2001). It's around 4:30am, and a few people who were at the conference I was at are sitting around, groggy-eyed, waiting for the airport shuttle, when a black limousine pulls up in front of the hotel. The driver gets out, has a name scribbled on a piece of paper. He walks over to us, and says: "Are any of you Ray?" We look at each other, and at him, and say no quietly, with sand in our eyes.

A few minutes later, I hear the elevator doors open, and a man walks to the reception desk to check out. Suddenly an extremely familiar voice fills the lobby, a voice trained by years on the radio. The Ray that the chauffeur was looking for was Ray Suarez, also sleepily checking out of the Marriott. He checks out, walks by us, and gets into his waiting limousine. I thought about asking to share the ride, but my conscience got the better of me.

When I got to the airport many minutes later, I walked past the United ticket counter, and again spotted Mr. Suarez in line with the hundreds of people going back to Dulles Airport (I knew they weren't flying into Washington National. Just an ordinary guy in a flannel shirt, a bit shorter than I would have thought (like I'm one to talk about that), trying to get home. In the post-911 world, it seemed somehow comforting to be sharing my travel day with a journalist whose words were part of getting through it all.

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