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Rather Exits with Expansive Call for 'Courage'

After a CBS Evening News broadcast that mixed stories of Baghdad bombings, Social Security woes, presidential golfers and a health-cost-ravaged single mother facing tougher bankruptcy laws, Dan Rather signed off after 24 years in the anchor chair.

An obviously emotional but not teary-eyed Rather expanded on his trademark sign-off, "courage," to address military men in harm’s way, a nation "still nursing a broken heart" after 9/11, the tsunami victims, those in "financial hardship or failing health," and to his fellow journalists reporting from places where "reporting truth means risking all.

He also thanked his viewers and the thousands of journalists he had worked with over the years. Virtually all of those in the latter group currently working with Rather gathered around him as the broadcast closed on a wide shot filled with applauding newspeople.

CBS' Washington Bureau Chief Bob Schieffer takes over for Rather March 10 for an interim stint in the chair. Rather will remain a reporter for the network, saying he hopes his best work is still ahead of him.