Brian Williams begins a ‘new era’

Tonight a new era begins on this broadcast. But not without a word about the era that ended last night, when our friend, mentor and leader signed off after more than two decades on this broadcast. He has allowed me to sit in this chair in his absence for the last ten years. And now hopefully many years more.

For those of us fortunate enough to have shared a newsroom, and a calling, with Tom Brokaw, it was not quite the same today. While we will see him around here, and so will you, after the most carefully-planned vacation in American history, he leaves us as stewards of the broadcast he presided over and shaped on a daily basis. It is now our job from this day forward to endeavor each evening to put the finest work of this organization on the air. We can do that best by working harder than anyone else, just the way Tom did for so many years.

I stand on the shoulders of great people at NBC News. Some are household names, but most are not. It is an honor to work with all of them. Without them, and most importantly: without my own family, this dream that started in a small town, and in this great nation, would not be coming true tonight. Without you watching our daily effort, none of it would be worthwhile. So thank you for watching. We'll continue to work each evening to earn and preserve your loyalty. It means so much to us to have you with us, as we continue a great tradition.. starting tonight.

That is our broadcast for this Thursday night, December 2, 2004. I'm Brian Williams, reporting tonight from New York. Goodnight.