Since I was a child, I have always had trouble staying up until midnight to watch the ball drop on television. But every year, I awoke on the couch in my pajamas just in time to watch Dick Clark count down to the new year. I watched the camera pan the crowd in awe as the confetti fell like rainbow-colored snow and the flashing lights reflected off of the metal buildings. I sipped my sparkling apple cider and wished my family a happy new year as Clark reminisced about the past and expressed hope for the future. I didn't know who Clark was or how he became the host of the celebration I had grown so fond of, but I always enjoyed the broadcast and the man behind it all.
After 40 years, Dick Clark's New Year's Rockin' Eve on ABC will go on without him. An icon in radio hosting and well-known for his television appearances, Dick Clark hosted the New Year's celebration in Times Square until he suffered a stroke in 2004. However, man that he was, he returned to the show in 2005 with the help of Ryan Seacrest, who will now host the show without Clark. Clark was a pop culture icon and a household staple come New Year's Eve for generations of families who watched the ball drop on their living room couches, much like mine.
For those of us who have watched the ball drop on television every New Year's Eve, Clark made the night come alive and brought Times Square into our living rooms. As the confetti fell and the fireworks flew, Clark reflected on the year past and year to come. His strong words during NYE 2002, one of the last shows he hosted alone, cast light on the destruction that New York City and the entire United States had felt in September of 2001, but also paid tribute to the resiliency of the city and its amazing citizens. Moments like these made Clark irreplaceable and reminded Americans why they loved him so.
After his stroke, Clark co-hosted the show with Ryan Seacrest. Despite some controversy surrounding his quick return to ABC, Clark remained an inspiration to his fans for doing what he truly loved.
"It's real good to be back with you again this year. You and I have been a part of each other's lives for so many New Year's Eves that I wouldn't have missed this for the world," he said.
His dedication to the program that he hosted for 40 years and the tradition of the ball drop were universally known, as he committed to co-hosting with Seacrest for as long as he was able.
Clark's countdown will be missed, along with his smile and soothing voice. Even the kiss he shared with his wife at midnight on television will be a loss to those who watched ABC's program every year to kick off the new year. His charisma was timeless and sincere, and will be missed as we count down the new year into 2013.