Schieffer on his 20 years at "Face the Nation"

Appearing on "Face the Nation" on May 12, 1991 (from left): John Walcott, Bob Schieffer, Rep. Dave McCurdy (D-Okla.) and Juan Williams, Washington Post

2011 marks my 20th year as moderator of "Face the Nation," and as I skimmed the archives this week I realized just how many broadcasts - more than a thousand - and how many haircuts have gone by since that first one.

This week some of those who have been on the broadcast during those years will join us at a Washington gathering.

They won't all be there, of course. There were literally thousands - senators, presidents, ball players and sports officials who talked to us everywhere, from this studio to the floor of political conventions to the Super Bowl (our only broadcast that included a blimp shot, by the way).

Over the years, we've made a lot of news, we have been parodied, and we have been a place where Washington's key newsmakers talked to each other and, more importantly, to the American people.

We are the second-oldest program on television; "Meet the Press" is the oldest. When my late, great friend Tim Russert took over that program he said anchoring a Sunday talk show was like being given custody of a national treasure.

I couldn't have said it better.

In the midst of a communications revolution, we have changed the least. No bells and whistles - we just sit the key newsmakers down, turn on the lights, and ask them questions.

Millions of you still believe it's important to hear their answers. We thank you for that, and for having us in your home all these years.