Goodbye Charlie

December 18, 2009 1:40:11 PM PST
It's strange saying goodbye. And I'm not sure how to do it. I've written about Charlie Gibson in this space before, when he announced in September that he'd be leaving in December. Now it's December, and tomorrow's his last day, and I just can't conjure the right words to say. Or write. Thanks to all of you who wrote in, offering your thoughts about our friend and colleague, Charlie Gibson, who signs off the air at ABC News tonight, after 34 years here. I've been lucky to enough to work with him for half that time as his reporter on Good Morning America and at 20/20.

He has mentored me, befriended me, and taught me so much.

If you get this email before Charlie's newscast at 6:30 p.m. then please watch.

I think I've told this story before, but when I came to Good Morning America to start the weekend show, Charlie called me into his office to explain to me the ropes, and how to host a morning show. I had no idea, and, truth be told, back then I think it showed.

His advice was wonderful, and I embraced it.

Here's something I've never said: The first time I subbed for him on Good Morning America, the first time I said, "Good Morning America," my heart was pounding so much I'm sure everyone could hear it in my voice. I'm also sure viewers could see the thumping through my jacket. I was so nervous I will never forget it.

Charlie's always the smartest guy in the room, and we will miss that about his presence. But I don't think his uncommon intelligence is why Americans love him. I think it's is common sense. And his compassionate, big-hearted story telling. That's why so many have invited him into their homes in the morning and in the evening for every major event, every triumph, every tragedy, for 34 years.

To see my one on one interview with Charlie, CLICK HERE.

We'll have more on Charlie's goodbye, tonight at 11.

We're going to lead our newscast with the impending storm. How much will we get? Meteorologist Lee Goldberg says the computer models vary, and show everything from a few inches to couple of feet. Lee and the AccuWeather team are busy tracking the storm. And the usual suspects throughout the Tri-State are getting ready to deal with it. We'll have complete coverage, tonight at 11.

One other note for you: We're once again asking you to send in your holiday emails, to be read on air, when I co-anchor, along with Lee Goldberg and Lauren Glassberg, Eyewitness News on Christmas morning, from 5 a.m. to 7 a.m.

We've been doing this since 2001, and your messages have always been warm and thoughtful and emotional. Please send, as always, to BILL.S.RITTER@ABC.COM We will try to read as many as possible on air on Christmas morning, a week from Friday.

We'll also have any breaking news of the night, plus and Scott Clark with the night's sports. I hope you can join Liz Cho and me, tonight at 11, after 20/20.