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As a distinguished reporter, war correspondent, television special host and weekday television evening news anchorman, Walter Cronkite has rendered a lifetime of service to his profession and, through his outstanding journalistic accomplishments, to the United States and its citizens. In a career spanning more than sixty years, he has been at the scene of virtually every major world news event. Walter Cronkite’s integrity and extraordinary contributions exemplify an unswerving devotion to the principles expressed in the motto of the United States Military Academy, "DUTY, HONOR, COUNTRY."

Walter Cronkite’s remarkable rise to journalistic preeminence began during his college years as a student correspondent for the Houston Post. He soon moved on to Oklahoma where he built a local following as a radio sportscaster. In 1937, he joined United Press International and after Pearl Harbor, was posted to Europe to cover the war. He went ashore with invading Allied Forces in North Africa, flew in B-17 bombing raids over Germany, took part in the Normandy beachhead assault in 1944, landed in Holland with the 101st Airborne Division and covered the Third Army’s relief of Bastogne. As one observer commented, "…his eyewitness accounts filled the pages of newspapers in the United States."

Following the war, Walter Cronkite reestablished the United Press International Bureaus in Europe, was Chief UP Correspondent at the Nuremberg Trials, and represented the wire service in Moscow.

In 1950, he joined CBS News in Washington as a correspondent. He was anchorman for the CBS television coverage of the presidential nominating conventions and national elections from 1958 to 1980. In 1962, Mr. Cronkite assumed his duties as anchor of the CBS Evening News. A year later, he expanded the Evening News program, which became the first national half-hour weeknight television news broadcast. As CBS Evening News anchorman and managing editor, Walter Cronkite forged a national reputation for trustworthiness, intelligence, fairness and sincerity. In nineteen years as the CBS Evening News anchor, he became an American institution, described by Time Magazine as "…the single most convincing and authoritative figure in the television news."

Walter Cronkite’s journalistic contributions did not end with his retirement from the CBS Evening News in 1981. As a CBS News Special Correspondent, his reports during the 1980’s were cited by the industry for their documentary excellence.

In 1993, he formed his own company, producing a number of award-winning documentaries for PBS, The Discovery Channel and other networks.

Walter Cronkite has reported and participated in the defining historic news events which have shaped the course of our nation and the world during the latter two thirds of the Twentieth Century. He covered three wars. He interviewed almost every major head of state and every U.S. President since Harry S. Truman. He chronicled the birth of space exploration, the assassination of President Kennedy, the Civil Rights movement, Watergate, the resignation of President Nixon, and the winning of the Cold War. He grew daily in our collective esteem, setting the standard for ethical conduct, objectivity, compassion and insight, not only for his peers, but in a larger context, for his fellow countrymen.

Walter Cronkite has received numerous honors, awards and commendations. Eighteen colleges and universities have honored his achievements. Among his numerous professional recognitions are several Emmy Awards and most significantly, the industry’s highest honor, the National Association of Broadcasters’ Distinguished Service Award.

In 1981, President Carter honored Walter Cronkite, awarding him the Presidential Medal of Freedom, our nation’s highest civilian decoration.

Throughout six decades of outstanding performance in both the print and electronic media, Walter Cronkite has earned his countrymen’s admiration and respect as "…the most trusted man in America." His life and accomplishments reflect extraordinary qualities of courage, a steadfast dedication to the truth and epitomize the values expressed in the West Point motto. Accordingly, the Association of Graduates of the United States Military Academy hereby awards the 1997 West Point Sylvanus Thayer Award to Walter Cronkite.

Chairman, Association of Graduates