A longing to return to work is with him "always, every day," the 85-year-old Cronkite said. But it hits him especially hard during major news events such as the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.
"When the big story is breaking, you want to be there," he said. "I knew that was going to happen, I just didn't know it was going to happen over so many years."
Cronkite, who now works on documentaries with his son's company, Cronkite Productions, addressed the annual convention of retiree-advocacy group AARP on Thursday. The principal anchorman for "The CBS Evening News" retired in 1981 to spend more time with his grandchildren. He was succeeded by Dan Rather.
"I would have stayed quite a bit longer ... knowing what I know now, that I would still have plenty of years to grow up with the kids," he said in an interview.
"Not being on the air, that's not important. But I'd like to be in the newsroom helping set the agenda."
Cronkite was in Italy during the Sept. 11 attacks and couldn't return home for five days.