LIANE HANSEN, host:

Memorial Day weekend has always been a time of change for me. I bought my first car, a 1963 Volkswagen Beetle. In 1981, I said goodbye to you as host of WEEKEND ALL THINGS CONSIDERED and moved to New York City to start a family. When I came back to NPR in 1989, it was as host of PERFORMANCE TODAY. I had that Memorial Day weekend off and my family shared a beach house during the summer with NPR colleagues. I also made a station visit to WSCL in Salisbury, Maryland.

Since that summer, I've returned to the beach often. Let's just say ocean water runs in my blood. Many generations of my family lived near the sea. Over the 20 years as the host of this program, you and I have spent many Memorial Day weekends together. But as soon as the show was over, you could find me heading east on the Chesapeake Bay Bridge.

Why am I telling you all this? Well, because at the end of May next year, my contract with NPR and the lease on my deluxe apartment in the city expire and I will hand over this chair to someone new. It's not you, it's me. I made the personal decision to move to where I have always wanted to live - by the ocean.

Over the next year, you'll hear a number of voices in front of this mic while I have the chance to visit as many public radio stations as possible, to meet and to thank you and the station people who have trusted and supported me all these years. My colleagues, on whom I rely more than I can say, have suggested I put together a bucket list of stories to do and people to interview in the time we still have together. I also welcome your ideas.

The countdown begins today. And, as always, this is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Liane Hansen.

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