Text of Dan Rather's final, apology-free sign-off as anchor of the CBS Evening News on Wednesday:
"We have shared a lot in the 24 years we've been meeting here each evening. And before I say good night this night, I need to say thank you. Thank you to the thousands of wonderful professionals at CBS News, past and present, with whom it has been my honor to work over these years.
"And a deeply felt thank you to all of you, who have let us in to your homes night after night. It has been a privilege and one never taken lightly.
"Not long after I first came to the anchor chair I briefly signed off using the word 'courage.' I want to return to it now, in a different way, to a nation still nursing a broken heart for what happened here in 2001, and especially to those who found themselves closest to the events of September 11th.
"To our soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines in dangerous places. To those who have endured the tsunami, and to all who have suffered natural disasters and who must now find the will to rebuild.
"To the oppressed and to those whose lot it is to struggle in financial hardship and failing health. To my fellow journalists in places where reporting the truth means risking all.
"And, to each of you, courage.
"For the CBS Evening News
, Dan Rather reporting. Good night."