Broadcast journalist Thomas John Brokaw (1940-) was born on this day in Webster, South Dakota.
"I pledged allegiance to the flag, joined the Boy Scouts and ran for student office in school. I married a young woman I had known since we were 15," said Brokaw who began his career at a small Sioux City, Iowa station and joined NBC News in 1966.
"Heroes are people who rise to the occasion and slip quietly away," he once said.
With an admirable 38-year career marked by the personal goal to "to get it right," Brokaw was a White House correspondent during the Watergate scandal and in 1981 became anchor and managing editor of NBC Nightly News.
Always at the heart of breaking news, he made historic interviews with Mikhail Gorbachev and the Dalai Lama, and reported on the Berlin Wall collapse and from Iraq and Afghanistan war zones.
"It's not the questions that get us in trouble, it's the answers," he said. "And just as important, no one person has all the answers."
Brokaw's best seller, The Greatest Generation (1998), celebrated World War II veterans-- those Depression survivors who conquered the battlefields and returned to build America with honor and prestige.
"It's easy to make a buck. It's a lot harder to make a difference," he said.
Brokaw anchored his last news broadcast on Dec 1, 2004 and said of his tenure, "It's been a great, great privilege." He continues to look dapper, write books, produce documentaries, and provide insight to breaking news events.
Brokaw wrote in 2007: "Someone asked me how I would change the presidential debate format. I proposed handing each of the candidates a double martini in the firm belief that would get them beyond their canned answers."
Make it so.