When important news happened around the world during the 1960s and '70s, millions of Americans turned to their televisions to watch anchorman Walter Cronkite tell them in his deep voice what was taking place.
For many Americans, Cronkite's emotional broadcast to the nation in November 1963 is the way they remember learning that President John F. Kennedy had been assassinated. His gracious on-air manner also helped make Cronkite's show (the CBS Evening News) the top-rated news program from 1969 until he retired in 1981.
Cronkite died in New York Friday night. He was 92 years old and had been suffering for years from cerebrovascular disease.
From the White House, President Barack Obama said in a statement that "for decades, Walter Cronkite was the most trusted voice in America." The president recalled that Cronkite "was there through wars and riots, marches and milestones, calmly telling us what we needed to know. ... He was someone we could trust to guide us through the most important issues of the day; a voice of certainty in an uncertain world." The president said, "He was family. He invited us to believe in him, and he never let us down."
One of Cronkite's successors as the main news anchor on the CBS network, Katie Couric broke into scheduled programs to announce his death Friday. She said Cronkite was the personification of excellence, both professionally and personally.
The veteran journalist - a war correspondent in London long before he became known on television - was an expert on the U.S. space program, especially the Apollo program that climaxed exactly 40 years ago in the landing on the moon. Cronkite's broadcasts from 1969 are well known for the enthusiasm and excitement with which he greeted the first grainy pictures from the moon's surface. Cronkite delivered his trademark signoff at the end of each evening's news program - "And that's the way it is" - in tones that matched whatever emotion the news of the day conveyed, be it joy, sorrow, wonder or amazement.