Tony Snow died today at the age of 53 following a long and courageous fight with cancer. President Bush called him a "man of character" in a statement today and noted the "great love of country" that Snow brought to his work and the joy that others derived from observing him at his work. Character, patriotism and a zeal for the activity of one’s life are all traits that endear because they point to a kind of fundamental gratitude for one’s gifts in this world. Gratitude, it seems to me, may be the starting place of every well-lived life--particularly when it becomes clear that this life, however wonderful, may be cut shorter than expected. I heard Snow interviewed many times and asked about his cancer and in those exchanges I don’t recall anything that even came close to resembling a whine or a lament. He talked of life and of his great loves: America, his family, and his calling. RIP, Tony Snow and God bless your family in their time of loss. It is a great loss, but then, the fact that the loss must be so great is a reminder that the gift of such a life is remarkable.