Monday, May 31, 2010

Honoring ‘American heroes’

The American Legion - May 26, 2010

Already an Army veteran, Joseph Proctor joined the National Guard after 9/11. At Camp Ramadil, Iraq, he killed the driver of a truck filled with explosives, then died when the truck blew up. Proctor received the Silver Star posthumously.

The American Legion and Military Channel have teamed up to honor troops who served in Iraq and Afghanistan, including three soldiers who never made it back home. A series of 10 one-minute vignettes, "American Heroes" premieres Memorial Day on the Military Channel, which co-sponsored the production with The American Legion.

Produced by Creative Street Entertainment, "American Heroes" includes the dramatic and poignant stories of those who fell in battle, suffered severe injuries, helped repair war-torn communities or made it home to help other wounded warriors. Each American hero is honored with a Norman Rockwell Moments portrait at the close of the vignette. The profiles will air on the Military Channel for an entire year, starting with the network's live coverage of the National Memorial Day Parade on May 31 from 2-4 p.m. EST.

"The ‘American Heroes' stories are a collection that encompasses several different aspects of what it means to be a hero in wartime. First and foremost, we think of those who gave their lives - those whose memories we will honor forever," American Legion National Commander Clarence Hill said. "Then there are those who return home with severe injuries, yet go on to succeed in the civilian world. We have American heroes who take care of wounded troops at VA hospitals, who have helped Iraqi children in their devastated cities, or who have taught their own families how to be heroes. "These vignettes really highlight the sacrifices of our troops in Iraq and Afghanistan, and how veterans of those wars continue to serve our country."

"Partnering with The American Legion to create these ‘American Heroes' vignettes is emblematic of Military Channel's commitment to sharing compelling stories of heroism from within the U.S. Armed Services," said Henry Schleiff, general manager and president of Military Channel, Investigation Discovery and HD Theater. "And what better day to launch these poignant stories than Memorial Day, a hallowed day for our country to recognize the accomplishments and sacrifices of the men and women serving in uniform, who have preserved our freedom and liberties while bringing security to the world."

The 11 individuals featured in the "American Heroes" vignettes are David Brown, Tammy Duckworth, Dawn Halfaker, Nick Madaras, Jose Pequeno, Robert Posivio, Joseph Proctor, John Schatzel, Klay South, and Patrick Brady and his daughter, Meghan.

Madaras, Posivio and Proctor died in Iraq; Proctor received the Silver Star. Duckworth, an assistant secretary in the Department of Veterans Affairs, was a pilot who lost both legs when her helicopter was shot down. Halfaker, vice president of the Wounded Warrior Project, lost an arm when an RPG exploded near her Humvee.

South, who founded the Veterans of Valor service organization, was shot while clearing out houses in Fallujah. Pequeno, whose story was told in the May 2009 issue of The American Legion Magazine, suffered severe traumatic brain injury from an IED explosion.

Patrick Brady, a retired Army major general, is a Medal of Honor recipient for bravery in Vietnam; his daughter, Meghan, has served in Kosovo, Kuwait and Iraq. Schatzel helped rebuild the Iraqi scouting program in Baghdad, and Brown - twice injured in battle - now spends his days helping veterans recover from war and readjust to the world of peace.

For more videos, visit LegionTV.

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