For Dave Garroway, it was, "Peace." For Edward R. Murrow, it was, "Good night and good luck." For Walter Cronkite, "And that's the way it is . . . ." For Charles Osgood, it still is, "See you on the radio."
Now you can add Dan Rather's, "Courage" to the roster of network sign-offs, those program-ending phrases or words that in many cases become as familiar as the hosts or news anchors who say them.
Rather, who jokingly cautions against overanalyzing the import and consequence of his new finale word, said he began signing off his "CBS Evening News" broadcast with "courage" on Labor Day after returning from a vacation in his native Texas.
"I've been using it as a greeting or salutation for at least 15 or 20 years," he said Friday, "and I sometimes used it in the '70s to end my radio broadcasts. I like the word; what can I say?"
While his "courage" may not necessarily become a permanent fixture on his CBS newscast, he said, "it's a good word. I think I'm going to use it for a while."
He laughed when advised that a favorite phrase of some reporters is, "I'll have one more."
"Well, I also like the word meadow ," Rather said. "But I don't think I could sign off each night by saying, 'Meadow.' "