By Chris Clackum
WASHINGTON, D.C. (NBC) - When Walter Cronkite veered from his usual straight reporting on the 'CBS Evening News' for a 1968 editorial against the Vietnam War, President Johnson was watching in the White House and is said to exclaim, "That's it. If I've lost Cronkite, I've lost middle America." It was instances like that that helped justify Cronkite's long-time moniker as "the most trusted man in America."
Walter Cronkite was born on November 4, 1916 in St. Joseph, Missouri. After reading an article about a foreign correspondent, Cronkite left the University of Texas and began his own journalism career. He went on to cover the European front of World War iI for United Press.
In 1962, Cronkite helped launch the 'CBS Evening News', broadcast into 16-million homes every night. A year later, and with a rare glimpse of emotion, Cronkite informed the nation of the assassination of President Kennedy.
In 1969, Cronkite's love of the space program overwhelmed him as he watched with the world the Apollo 11 lunar landing.
It was that on-air emotion, his honesty, and impartiality that made Cronkite the voice-of-reason for viewers during the turbulent times of the Vietnam War and Watergate scandal.
Cronkite held the anchor chair until his retirement in 1981.
After his time in the anchor chair, the broadcast legend wrote two books and hosted several special news and educational programs. He spent the majority of his time in retirement enjoying his sailboat off his beloved New England coast.
During his career, Cronkite won numerous industry awards, including several Emmys and the prestigious Peabody award twice.
For more than five decades, Cronkite brought the news of the world into the homes of Americans with honesty, integrity, and a calmness only he could deliver and with a trademark ending that summarizes his legacy.
Cronkite's wife, Betsy died of cancer in 2005. He is survived by their three children.