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Viewers share their favorite memories

Read what 'Nightly News' viewers had to say about Tom Brokaw.

From the civil unrest of the 1960s to every presidential election since 1968, Tom Brokaw has seen and reported on a lot of history over the years. Thousands of you responded to our request for your favorite memories about his career. Below are some of the highlights.

Editor's Note: E-mails may be excerpted or edited for readability.

In 1986, the phone rang. It was our oldest child calling to say, "Mom, turn on NBC with Tom." He was in the sixth grade and had seen the Space Shuttle Challenger explode. A few weeks ago, my son – now 31 – called and said, "Mom, don't be upset. Tom Brokaw is retiring." You can retire now, Tom – my family is all grown and we can make it on our own.
Kate in Uniontown, Ohio

When my oldest son was about three, his Grandpa bought him a suit jacket, shirt, tie and dress pants for his birthday.  When he opened the present, his comment was, "now I will look like Tom Brokaw!" He is now in college, and I still have the suit.
Cyndi in Stevensville, Mont.

Tom, you've made an outstanding contribution and yes, you did get the story right. Your parting words were a perfect example of your professional priorities. I, along with so many others, will miss your nightly TV presence. 
Janet in Washington, D.C.

Tom Brokaw's voice holds a special place in my heart. We lived in a trailer growing up and my mom followed "The Nightly News" faithfully. I could hear his voice booming through the back wall, and smell her great cooking while I was playing in the back yard. Now every time I hear his voice I smell supper cooking, and feel the energy of youth.
Mandi in Okla.

I cried for a good half hour after Wednesday's "NBC Nightly News with Tom Brokaw." I knew it was going to hit me, and had the tissues ready, but I didn't know that it would affect me that much! I think the reason it hurt so bad is because of the passage of time. Tom Brokaw was everywhere, and he was the eye to see history when we ourselves couldn't. 
Ann-Marie in Jacksonville, Fla.

A few days after the recent election my five-year-old nephew, Nate, stated to his mother, "I hope George W. wins and gets to be the president." His mom explained that George was already the president and now would be for four more years. Nate thought about this for a moment and then asked, "Then who is Tom Brokaw?"
Gretchen in Columbus Grove, Ohio

Tom, you and I come from the same kind of parents -- blue-collar, hard-working men and women who love this country. I see the seeds of that upbringing in your innate respect, understanding and caring for all Americans. It infuses your work and helps us all decipher the sometimes confusing world in which we live. 
Wendy in Salem, Ore.

While others in the media prefer distorting the news, Mr. Brokaw has stayed the course as a professional journalist. New York's loss will be Montana's gain.  Welcome home, Mr. Brokaw.
Jack in Miles City, Mont.

We only have to look at your name to see what Tom Brokaw stands for:  Talented, Optimist, Modest – Balanced, Reliable, Objective, Kind, Assertive, Winner.
Richard in Dayton, Ohio

My favorite Brokaw moment was at the beginning of Desert Storm. was editing my dissertation and "NBC Nightly News" was on. Suddenly Tom paused, raised his index finger, and pressed his other hand to his earpiece. "Somethings going on," he said, "somethings going on." Then he announced the beginning of the war. He could have been a well-connected friend sitting in my house who got an important phone call and knew that he had something to tell me, but who also wanted to be sure of his facts before he did. He was totally credible and absolutely genuine.
Peter in Fort Walton Beach, Fla.

My family and friends know not to bother me when Tom is on. They also know I will have a box of Kleenex on hand tonight. Tom's compassion and intelligence sets him apart both professionally and personally. One last time tonight, I will say, with tears in my eyes, "Good night, Tom."
Caroline in Marietta, Ohio

Although I could not always see your face (I am legally blind), your voice painted 1,000 pictures for me through your news reports.  What a world you painted! You are my Walter Cronkite and I will miss you tremendously.  Thanks -- go have some more fun now.
Kim in Winchester, Va.

I met Tom Brokaw at the 1980 Republican National Convention in Kansas City. I was a young college student working for the Ford campaign.  One evening I found myself towards the back of the convention hall next to Tom Brokaw. He struck up a conversation with me. He did not have to speak to me at all. We had quite a discussion on Ford and Reagan. What I remember is that he made the effort to talk to this young idealist kid. He made me feel an equal in our conversation and he seemed so sincere. 
Nancy in Altoona, Ill. 

My husband and I both graduated from the University of South Dakota, Tom's alma mater. Tom was the speaker at my husband's graduation ceremony from in 1980. I still remember how he began his speech to the graduates and families. He said, "I went through college on a case by case basis....a case of Miller, a case of Bud, a case of Pabst!"
Tami in Minnetonka, Minn.

Honestly, I have not been a Brokaw watcher throughout the years like most of the people posting on this Web site. But I was curious enough about him to watch "Eyewitness to History" and I could not pull myself from the TV. I was truly touched not only by his reporting, but by his honesty. When Brokaw acknowledged that there is still racism in the world today and that if his skin had been one shade darker that he might not have been in this position today, I gained respect for him. Not many high profile people would do that, so I know he was speaking from the heart.
Wayne in Ala.

NBC News without Tom Brokaw? Hard to imagine. Here in Germany he was the man who explained America to me. It was his fault that I was often tired in the morning because we have to wait till 12:30 a.m. to watch the "Nightly News" on CNBC.
Stefan in Neumenster, Germany

I started watching Tom Brokaw about three years ago, after the 9/11 attacks. As a young girl living in NYC, I was scared. Tom Brokaw made me feel safe. Every night, I take a half hour break from my homework to watch "NBC Nightly News."
Stella in New York, N.Y.

In a short half-hour you tell us the things we need to know to be informed Americans, and many nights you leave us with a moving story that connects us all together. We've cried with you when anthrax put you and your staff at risk, and stayed up late with you to watch the election returns. Now that you're retiring, your family will be able to see you more often. But in a world that seems increasingly chaotic, we'll miss your comforting level-headedness, your cool ties and hankies, and the regularity of your kind, fatherly presence. Happy retirement!
Katherine in Eastford, Conn.

I owe Tom Brokaw a big "thank you!" When you featured "A Soldier's Story," the soldier you interviewed was a very good friend to me. We had lost contact with each other for 10 years and after seeing the interviews with him and his family I contacted him. Thank you for sharing the human side of this war and giving me back my friend!
Christina in Elmira, N.Y.

Even though I am not an American citizen, in just two years of my stay in the U.S., I became fond of Tom Brokaw and his evening news. There is something about him so genuine that made me tune to NBC during special geopolitical events. His camaraderie with Tim Russert is one of the strongest on network television. Mr. News is also Mr. Modest. I often feel that Tom and Meredith Brokaw seem like really nice grandparents to have.
Tonmoy in Atlanta

I have been sleeping with Tom Brokaw for so many years. I come home from work, turn on the news, take a little nap, wake up and make dinner. Tom, you are seriously disrupting my comfortable routine.
Kris in Spearfish, S.D.

As I watched Tom Brokaw on "Eyewitness to History," I recalled the events that I had seen first through his eyes. My eleven-year-old daughter joined me about half-way through the program. She said, "This is cool, Mom.  I should have taped it for social studies.  This is so interesting because he was actually there."  I think that says it all --as history was being made, he was there and made it available for all of us to see and understand. Thank you, Mr. Brokaw.
Carol in Napoleon, N.D.

What strikes me about Tom is that in all these years of watching him report the news, I'm still unsure of his own political beliefs. This sense of utter professionalism, to me, set him apart from all others.
Jeff in Iowa

I'm retired from NBC in New York.  I remember a morning after a major snowstorm, when there was no vehicular traffic moving in the city. I was waiting for an elevator, and there was Tom Brokaw, with cross-country skis over his shoulder, having skied across Central Park to get to work.
Mary-Sue in Colorado Springs, Colo.

I will never forget reading Tom Brokaw's book, "The Greatest Generation" back in 1999, when my 7-year-old son at the time, who suffers from a seizure disorder, said "Tom." He recognized his picture on the back of the book just like every time he has seen him on TV. He does still. Thank you, Tom, for making my son smile and say your name every time the "Nightly News" comes on the air. You will never be forgotten.
Mike in Tampa, Fla.

I wish I could grow up to be Tom Brokaw.
David in Boca Raton, Fla.

I can remember at the family dinner table growing up, my parents would often be discussing what Tom Brokaw had said on the "Today" show that morning. Then, as I went to college and got married and had my four children, it was Tom Brokaw that helped us all piece together the often confusing events unfolding before our eyes. I'm dreading the final show and wishing that maybe, just maybe, he might change his mind?
Deb in S.C.

My mother has always considered Tom Brokaw not only a brilliant newsman, but, if she voted, he would be "the sexiest man alive" instead of Jude Law. She never misses the "Today" show or the "Nightly News."
Lainie in Satellite Beach, Fla.

Tom Brokaw has been there through the years. That's more than I can say for the men in my life! I will truly miss his compassionate, unbiased reporting and that sincere nightly sign off, "See you tomorrow night."
Mary in Revere, Mass.

Our son Thomas, now 7, was diagnosed with mild autism when he was much younger. One of his "quirks" has always been his great love for Tom Brokaw! Our Thomas would always come running when he heard the Nightly News anthem and to this day is thrilled to see Tom and hear his voice.
Julie in Lexington, S.C.