March 6, 2013
WALTER CRONKITE MADE FINAL BROADCAST 32 YEARS AGO
New York City (JFK+50) CBS Television's Walter Cronkite* made his final broadcast as news anchor of the evening news 32 years ago today, March 6, 1981.**
As he concluded the broadcast, Mr. Cronkite said...
"I'll be away on assignment & Dan Rather will be sitting in here for the next few years. Good night."
National Aeronautics & Space Museum
Washington, D.C. (2004)
NASA Photo by Bill Ingalls
On most of his broadcasts, however, Cronkite closed out with the famous line...."And that's the way it is" followed by the day's date.
Mr. Cronkite replaced Douglas Edwards as anchor of CBS Evening News on April 16, 1962.
He is best remembered for breaking in to the program 'As the World Turns,' on the afternoon of Friday, November 22, 1963 & saying...
"Three shots were fired at President Kennedy's motorcade in downtown Dallas, Texas. The 1st reports say that President Kennedy has been seriously wounded by this shooting."
And later that tragic afternoon, Cronkite reported...
"From Dallas, Texas, the flash apparently official, President Kennedy died at 1 p.m. Central Standard Time, 2 p.m. Eastern Standard Time, some 38 minutes ago."
You Tube Video
After 4 days of coverage of the assassination, aftermath & funeral, Walter Cronkite spoke these words...
"Tonight there will be few Americans who will go to bed without carrying with them the sense that somehow they have failed.
If in the search of our conscience we find a new dedication to the American concepts that brook no political, sectional, religious or racial divisions, then maybe it may yet be possible to say that John F. Kennedy did not die in vain.
That's the way it is, Monday, November 25, 1963.
This is Walter Cronkite. Good night."
*Walter Cronkite (1916-2009) was born in St. Joseph, Missouri & grew up in Kansas City & Houston. He attended the University of Texas & took a radio job in Oklahoma City in 1936.
Cronkite, having covered WWII & the Nuremberg trials, joined CBS in 1950.
**Some of the news Cronkite reported that night may have included President Ronald Reagan's intention to cut the federal payroll by $1.3 billion over a 2 year period.
Aboard the USS Constitution
Photo by Terry A. Cosgrove (1997)