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Lester Holt, the man who has helmed the TODAY anchor desk nearly every weekend for 10 years, was shown lots of love Sunday as the TODAY family celebrated his anniversary.
“10 years anchoring weekend TODAY is an enormous accomplishment and Lester, I congratulate you for it,” TODAY’s Matt Lauer said.
Lester started as anchor in September 2003 with political reporter Campbell Brown. “We’ll be fine until I pull my first practical joke out,” Holt said on his very first day, “and then this relationship can really get started.”
Holt said it was a “bizarre” feeling to look back to the very first show. “We were figuring it out as we went along.”
What's changed in those 10 years? “Wow, I lost my sight, I lost my hair and I lost weight,” he joked Sunday. His co-anchor Erica Hill said she was convinced he looks younger. Weekend weather anchor Dylan Dreyer agreed.
The 10th anniversary celebration was quite the occasion, with several surprises including a visit by Holt’s wife Carol and his two grown sons, Stefan and Cameron. Stefan, who's following his dad's footsteps as a morning TV anchor at a NBC station in Chicago, even took to the TODAY plaza with a sign just for his dad. Holt thanked his family for their support — and their sense of humor.
The soundtrack to the festivities was provided by the Brownstone Jazz Ensemble, a Brooklyn-based band that Holt has played with before. Holt is a self-professed music man, and even Erica Hill said that whenever she stops by his office he's playing the bass.
The musical surprises didn't end there. Darius Rucker, of the band "Hootie & the Blowfish," wrote a song for Holt. “I’m proud to say you are my friend,” Rucker said.
Late night host Jay Leno also sent over a message, telling Holt not to worry about job security. “That doesn't happen until your 22nd year, so you’re safe for awhile," he joked.
With all the love from so many people, it might’ve been Erica Hill who summed it all up, toasting him at the end of the show with a glass of Champagne. "You are wonderful," she said.
Want to leave your best wishes for Lester Holt? Tweet us using #WhyILoveLester, and for more of Holt's best moments check out some of our favorites.