Video: Brokaw's parting thoughts

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updated 12/2/2004 10:44:15 AM ET 2004-12-02T15:44:15

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 behind these cameras, across this country and around the world, in too many instances, in places of grave danger and personal hardship. 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 I came to know well, the men and women who came of age in the Great Depression, who at 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 on 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. And, most of all, they did not give up on the idea we're all in this together.

We still are and it is in that spirit that I say thanks for all I have learned from you. It's been my richest reward.

That's "Nightly News" for this Wednesday night. I'm Tom Brokaw. You'll see Brian Williams tomorrow night; I'll see you along the way.

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