After bringing viewers the news for nearly 23 years, NBC anchor Tom Brokaw gave his parting words on December 1, 2004, expressing gratitude for what he got in return. (Aired on NBC Nightly News with Tom Brokaw on 12-01-04)
Well the time is here. We’ve been through a lot together through dark days and nights and seasons of hope and joy. Whatever the story I had only one objective, to get it right, when I failed, it was personally painful and there was no greater urgency than course correction. On those occasions, I was grateful for your forbearance and always mindful that your patience and attention didn’t come with a lifetime warranty.
I was not alone here, of course. I am simply the most conspicuous part of a large, thoroughly dedicated and professional staff that extends from just beyond these cameras, across the country and around the world, in too many instances in places of great danger and personal hardship and they’re family to me.
What have I learned here? More than we have time to recount this evening, but the enduring lessons through the decades are these: It’s not the questions that get us in trouble, it’s the answers.
And just as important, no one person has all the answers. Just ask a member of the generation that I came to know well, the men and woman who came of age in the Great Depression, who had great personal sacrifice, saved the world in World War II and returned home to dedicate their lives to improving the nation they had already served so nobly. They weren’t perfect, no generation is, but this one left a large and vital legacy of common effort to find common ground here and abroad in which to solve our most vexing problems. They did not give up their personal beliefs and greatest passions, but they never stopped learning from each other, but most of all, they did not give up on the idea that we’re all in this together, we still are.
And it is in that spirit that I say, thanks, for all that I have learned from you. That’s been my richest reward.
That’s Nightly News for this Wednesday night. I’m Tom Brokaw. You’ll see Brian Williams here tomorrow night and I’ll see you along the way.