‘Saving Private Ryan’ Returns To Cinemas To Commemorate 75th Anniversary Of D-Day

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Saving Private Ryan

Director Steven Spielberg’s landmark 1998 film, Saving Private Ryan, returns to cinemas this June in honor of the 75th anniversary of the D-Day invasion by Allied forces across the English Channel in 1944.

Fathom Events is bringing the film to 600 cinemas nationwide for two days only on June 2nd and 5th, both days at 3:00 pm and 7:00 pm.

Spielberg’s epic stars Tom Hanks, Edward Burns, Barry Pepper, Adam Goldberg, Vin Diesel, Ted Sizemore, Jeremy Davies, and Giovanni Ribisi, with Matt Damon in the title role of the U.S. Army Private who Hanks’ team is sent deep into occupied France to recover. The film was written by Robert Rodat and also features Ted Danson, Paul Giamatti, Dennis Farina and Nathan Fillion in supporting roles.

The film went on to become the highest grossing film of of 1998 and one of the most successful war movies ever made, grossing $216 million domestically and $265 million overseas. Its $481 million 1998 global box office total translates to nearly $750 million in 2019 dollars. Saving Private Ryan was nominated for 11 Academy Award nominations at the 1999 Oscars, winning statues for Best Director, Best Cinematography, Best Sound Mixing, Best Sound Editing and Best Film Editing. In one of the most famous Oscar night upsets in Academy history, the film lost the Best Picture award to Harvey Weinstein and Shakespeare in Love.

Considered one of the greatest WWII films ever, Saving Private Ryan is probably best known for its initial 27 minutes which features a brutally realistic recreation of the Normandy invasion, which critic Rex Reed of the New York Observer called, “the most overwhelming and agonizing half hour I have ever spent in a theater”. Portraying United States Army Captain John H. Miller, Hanks leads his team on a search for paratrooper Private First Class James Francis Ryan (Damon), who is the last surviving brother of four servicemen. Parts of the movie’s invasion shots were filmed on location at Omaha Beach.

Continue on to Forbes to read the complete article.

Man believed to be oldest living American World War II veteran celebrates his 110th birthday

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Oldest World War ll veteran sitting in wheelchair receives birthday card from womens' singing group

A man believed to be the oldest living American to have served during World War II celebrated his 110th birthday Thursday at the National World War II Museum in New Orleans.

Family, veterans, and current military service members joined Lawrence Brooks at the museum, where the celebrated with cupcakes and a musical performance by the Victory Belles trio.

Born in 1909, Brooks served as a support worker in the Army’s 91st Engineer Battalion, a majority African-American unit stationed in New Guinea and the Philippines during the war. He reached the rank of private first class.

He was the servant to thee white officers in the battalion, the museum said in a press release.

The supercentenarian is a father to five children and five step-children.

He had an exhilarating brush with death

In an interview with the museum, Brooks recounted a story of riding in a C-47 cargo plane from Australia to New Guinea. The plane was loaded down with barbed wire but “one of the motors went out on it,” he said.

To lighten the plane, those aboard threw much of the cargo into the ocean. Brooks threw the boxes out of the plane like his life depended on it: there were only enough parachutes on the plane for the pilot and the co-pilot.

Brooks said he joked to the aircraft’s pilot: “If he’s going to jump, I’m going to grab him.”

Thankfully, he didn’t have to resort to drastic measures.

“It was a scary moment,” he said. “But we made it.”

Continue on to CNN to read the complete article.

These are the first sisters to attain the rank of general, Army says

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Army General Sisters headshots side by side both dressed in Uniform

For the first time in the Army’s history, two sisters have attained the rank of general, the service said. It isn’t surprising that Maj. Gen. Maria Barrett, 53, and Brig. Gen. Paula Lodi, 51, have climbed some of the highest ranks in the Army, the women’s brother Rus Lodi told USA Today. The sisters, who he dubbed “leadership junkies,” always amazed the family and have been a “great source of pride” for the family, he said.

The Army isn’t surprised by the sisters’ success either.

“Maj. Gen. Maria Barrett and Brig. Gen. Paula Lodi represent the best America has to offer,” Acting Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy said, according to USA Today. “However, this comes as no surprise to those who have known them and loved them throughout this extraordinary journey. This is a proud moment for their families and for the Army.”

Although there have been cases where fathers and sons, and even a married couple have become generals, the Army doesn’t believe that there is another group of sisters who have pinned on general’s stars.

“The fact that we’re sisters, not brothers, I think it’s a huge illustration of how far we’ve come as a service,” said Lodi, who is now deputy chief of staff for operations in the Army’s Surgeon General’s office.

Barrett was initially interested in joining the Army to help pay for school at Tufts University, and wanted to go on to a career at the State Department. After going through Reserve Officer Training Corps as an undergraduate student, she was commissioned as a second lieutenant.

But as Barrett advanced as an officer, she realized the Army was a better fit for her.

“When I talk to younger officers, I tell them the reason I joined is not the reason why I stayed,” said Barrett, who is the commanding general of the Army’s Network Enterprise Technology Command, or NETCOM. “Our democratic experiment, even on its most imperfect day, is worth defending.”

Lodi, who The Washington Post reports was promoted to brigadier general in July, also didn’t expect to stay in the Army for as long as she has.

Continue on to Army Times to read the complete article.

What Does Veterans Day Mean to You?

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American Flags blowing in the wind

Selected responses and photos to be published in the print and digital November Special Veterans Day Issue!

This year, U.S. Veterans Magazine (USVM) will publish the selected responses and photos asking the question, “What Does Veterans Day Mean To You”?

Veterans Day is an official United States public holiday, observed annually on November 11, which honors all U.S. military veterans.

On this day we unite as a country to honor all those who fought to protect our freedom.

Each year U.S. Veterans Magazine USVM publishes the special Veterans Day issue in November.

To commemorate this special day, USVM is asking what it means to you.

To participate, please use the short form to submit your response. Once selected, you will be contacted for a photo request. Send your response today and let USVM know what Veterans Day means to you!

DEADLINE FOR SUBMISSIONS IS FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 6

 

Affordable Internet Service for Low-Income Veterans

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Soldier using a laptop to code at desk

Comcast has expanded eligibility for its Internet Essentials program. The program ensures that low-income individuals have online access and in-home WiFi. This is important for veterans, especially considering the recent push for claims processing through the Department of Veterans Affairs website.

We encourage eligible veterans to sign up and stay connected. Veterans may be eligible and can apply with VA pension or HUD-VASH documentation.

Internet Essentials customers have the option to purchase a laptop or desktop computer at a discounted price ($149.95). It includes Windows 10 and Microsoft Office!

This program is not limited to only veterans. Low-income individuals on public assistance programs, such as the National School Lunch Program, Housing Assistance, Medicaid, SNAP, SSI, and others, may be eligible. This program is limited to households located in areas where Comcast provides internet service.

Applicants may qualify if:

  • Eligible for public assistance
  • Do not have outstanding debt to Comcast less than a year old
  • Live in a Comcast Internet service coverage area (and not subscribed to Comcast service within 90 days)

The program provides an online learning portal for its users from basic to advanced skills. Some in-person classes may be available nearby also.

Continue on to Swords to Plowshares to read the complete article.

Semper Fi Trailer: Leighton Meester & Jai Courtney Test the Limits of Loyalty

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Semper Fi movie poster

Lionsgate has come through today with a first look at their dramatic new thriller Semper Fi, which features a line-up of popular talent on the rise.

The movie features Jai Courtney in the lead. He is joined by Nat Wolff, Finn Wittrock, Beau Knapp, Arturo Castro and Leighton Meester.

Semper Fi is directed by Henry Alex Rubin.

He wrote the script alongside Sean Mullin. The story follows a police officer serving in the Marine Corps Reserves who is faced with an ethical dilemma when it comes to helping his brother in prison.

The movie will be in theaters October 4, 2019. It will also be getting a simultaneous release On Demand and Digital HD release.

Henry Alex Rubin has released this statement on Semper Fi.

“Semper Fi’ is the motto of the U.S. Marines, and means ‘always faithful. That motto also applies in deep friendships, where you are incapable of betraying each other, and stand up for each other no matter the pressure. If you’ve got just one person like that in your life, you’re lucky.”

The director also had this to say about the production.

“[We] wanted to write a film about that deep feeling of loyalty and love among friends. Before shooting, the cast spent lot of time training together, going out every night, cooking meals, partying, drinking, nearly getting into barfights, staying up till sunrise. It was the most fun we’ve ever had on a set and that sense of true camaraderie is reflected on screen.”

Continue on to Movie Web to read the complete article.

Petty Officer Takes Marines to the Fight aboard U.S. Navy Warship

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Petty Officer Kevin Taylor aboard Navy warship

Petty Officer 3rd Class Kevin Taylor, a native of La Habra, California, was inspired to join the Navy to follow in family members’ footsteps. “My dad, the majority of my uncles and my grandfather all served in the military,” Taylor said.

Now, three years later, Taylor serves aboard one of the Navy’s amphibious ships at Naval Base San Diego.

“For the most part it’s really nice,” Taylor said. “It’s nice to be able to rely on shipmates for help and to help them as well.”

Taylor, a 2016 graduate of La Habra High School, is a interior communications electrician aboard USS Essex, one of four Wasp-class amphibious assault ships in the Navy, homeported in San Diego.

“We do the electrical work for the alarms,” Taylor said. “We maintain all shipboard alarms, warning and indicating systems and certain flight systems.”

Taylor credits success in the Navy to many of the lessons learned in La Habra.

“I learned that nothing comes easy,” said Taylor.

Essex is designed to deliver U.S. Marines and their equipment where they are needed to support a variety of missions ranging from amphibious assaults to humanitarian relief efforts. Designed to be versatile, the ship has the option of simultaneously using helicopters, Harrier jets, and Landing Craft Air Cushioned (LCAC), as well as conventional landing craft and assault vehicles in various combinations.

Because of their inherent capabilities, these ships have been and will continue to be called upon to support humanitarian and other contingency missions on short notice.

Sailors’ jobs are highly varied aboard Essex. More than 1,000 men and women make up the ship’s crew, which keeps all parts of the ship running smoothly, from handling weaponry to maintaining the engines. An additional 1,200 Marines can be embarked.

“Serving with the Marines gives you a different aspect of the military and seeing how different branches operate versus the Navy,” said Taylor.

Serving in the Navy means Taylor is part of a world that is taking on new importance in America’s focus on rebuilding military readiness, strengthening alliances and reforming business practices in support of the National Defense Strategy.

A key element of the Navy the nation needs is tied to the fact that America is a maritime nation, and that the nation’s prosperity is tied to the ability to operate freely on the world’s oceans. More than 70 percent of the Earth’s surface is covered by water; 80 percent of the world’s population lives close to a coast; and 90 percent of all global trade by volume travels by sea.

“Our priorities center on people, capabilities and processes, and will be achieved by our focus on speed, value, results and partnerships,” said Secretary of the Navy Richard V. Spencer. “Readiness, lethality and modernization are the requirements driving these priorities.”

Though there are many ways for sailors to earn distinction in their command, community, and career, Taylor is most proud of being selected as Junior Sailor of the Quarter and being promoted to third class petty officer.

“It’s something that you have to work for, to study and learn and to always be accepting of constructive criticism,” said Taylor.

As a member of one of the U.S. Navy’s most relied upon assets, Taylor and other sailors know they are part of a legacy that will last beyond their lifetimes contributing to the Navy the nation needs.

“Serving in the Navy is a sense of pride knowing that you’re doing something for the country and giving back to people,” said Taylor.

Source: Navy Office of Community Outreach

One Warrior’s Illuminating Journey

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Michael Landry poses outside at sporting event

The future looks bright for this veteran entrepreneur, who miraculously regained his once lost eyesight.

By Annie Nelson

Marine Corps 1st Sgt. Michael J. Landry Jr. was returning from his 5th combat deployment as a Field Radio Operator when he received orders to Okinawa, Japan in August 2014. He underwent an eye exam and was told his vision had changed but not to worry.

However in Japan, Landry noticed his vision was getting worse—so much so that his optometrist thought he was exaggerating his condition. It was then he was told that both of his corneas were shattered and he was legally blind in both eyes.

I spoke with Landry about his amazing journey, from regaining his sight to competing in the Marine Corps Trials to starting his own lifestyle clothing and music businesses.

Tell me about your journey to being able to see again?

I was medically evacuated from Okinawa in March 2016 and sent to Balboa Naval Hospital in San Diego, Calif. In Japan, I was still able to make out the outlines of objects because of the cloudy weather, but in California, I wasn’t able to see anything because it was so much brighter. I was fitted for hard-lens contacts until I received a corneal transplant in my left eye. The crazy thing was the eye transplant I received was originally blue! But then genetics took over and the eye eventually turned brown.

Due to my amazing doctor, the day after the surgery for the first time in two years, I was able to see the eye chart. Over the next 20 months, the vision in my left eye improved to the point that I was able to get prescription glasses, but only for the left lens because I was still blind in my right eye. Last February, I received the transplant for the right eye and today, I still have 12 stitches inside that eye but my vision overall is constantly improving.

You recently competed in the Marine Corps Trials—what events did you compete in and how did you finish? Are you going to the Warrior Games?

Yes, I competed in several events including track, shot put, discus, 100m sprint and powerlifting. For the powerlifting event, my doctor recommended to limit the weight because the excessive eye pressure could still cause damage. I was scheduled to run the 200m and 400m, but I pulled my hamstring during the 100m sprint. I ended up finishing first place in all events except powerlifting. I competed in the visually impaired category for field events, however, I did out throw every other competitor overall. I was also selected to compete in the Warrior Games and I’m looking forward to it.

What did the Marine Corps Trials teach you?

It taught me that I’m able to do more than I think. I’ve never competed in any of those sports before and it felt as if it came naturally. It also taught me that I need to learn to stretch better so I don’t get hurt!

You are a new entrepreneur. Tell me about your businesses and how you started?

The birth of One Life Clothing started when I was going blind. I tried to convince myself that it wasn’t true so I began sewing with the thought that in order to sew, you have to be able to see. Going blind at the age of 32 forces you to see life in a different perspective. Tomorrow isn’t promised and you never know what can happen so you should always enjoy the “One Life” you have.

My second business I actually credit with saving my life. I was going through a lot mentally and physically with the loss of my sight and was severely depressed. At one point I was contemplating suicide until one day my brother, who is a rap artist, called me to vent about his music career, or lack thereof due to bad business deals. To help him, I started One Life Entertainment Music Group, LLC. Thus far, we’ve released four solo albums and two compilation albums.

My non-profit organization, One Life At A Time Outreach, helps not only feed the homeless, but also provide necessities like clothes, toiletries and shoes.

Michael Landry portrait with children Makiya and Michael III
Michael with children Makiya and Michael III

What does the future look like for you?

Bright I would say. Losing your vision and gaining it back is a blessing on its own, no matter what life throws at me. I’ve already won because I can see again. I’m embracing the new me. Business-wise, I would love to get into government contract designing and making uniforms as well as getting my clothing line into stores.

What advice would you give other service members who are recovering from an injury or illness?

You have to embrace the new you. I know what it feels like to be completely alone and to be stuck in your own head, but you have to remember that you are here for a purpose. God will never give you a task that you can’t handle. We are all gifted—find your gift and get out of your comfort zone.

Continue to follow Landry’s journey at onelifeclothing.net and on onelifemuzik.com

Veteran carries fellow Marine to Utah mountain summit: ‘We’re all a band of brothers’

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Veteran carrying his disabled Marine buddy on his back up a hill while hiking

When it comes to the U.S. Marines, one of their core beliefs is to leave no man behind.

That motto was on full display last week when retired Marine Sgt. John Nelson was caught on video carrying his friend and fellow Marine, Staff Sgt. Jonathon Blank, to the summit of Utah’s Mount Timpanogos.

Blank lost his legs in an explosion in Afghanistan in 2010, with Nelson nearby when the blast occurred. The two, who served together on long-range reconnaissance missions, joined “Fox & Friends” Tuesday to detail the inspirational journey, which spanned 14 miles and 4,500 feet of elevation.

The sight of Nelson carrying Blank, who weighs about 135 pounds, on his back left two fellow hikers in awe and one shared the video on Facebook.

Phil Casper wrote, “They sought no special attention. The disabled vet said he weighed 135 lbs. They were committed to reach the summit. Having just exhausted myself to reach the summit with less than 5 lbs on my back, it was hard to fathom the drive that the pair possessed to achieve their goal.

To have arrived where I met them was already an incredible accomplishment. It was a powerful and inspiring experience to see them on their way.”

Continue on to Fox News to read the complete article.

This top military working dog is a Purple Heart recipient with nearly 100 Marine combat patrols under his collar

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military working dog with two soldiers investigating a suspicious bag on the ground

This year’s American Humane top military working dog sniffed out bombs and explosives over three combat tours with the Marine Corps across Iraq and Afghanistan and is now competing for the grand prize title of American Hero Dog.

Sgt. Yeager, a Marine Corps improvised explosive detection dog, carried out nearly 100 combat patrols and was awarded the Purple Heart after an IED explosion in Helmand province, Afghanistan, in April 2012, took out part of his ear, according to a press release

His handler, Marine Lance Cpl. Abraham Tarwoe, was killed in that explosion during a dismounted patrol in Helmand province’s Marjah district.

The pair, whose bond was described as “unbreakable,” according to American Humane, were both assigned to 2nd Battalion, 9th Marine Regiment.

Yeager was transported back to U.S. and treated for his injuries and eventually retired from the Marine Corps, according to a press release.

A press release said that while 12-year-old Yeager is showing signs of aging, his spirit is “undiminished.” Yeager was adopted by a family in North Carolina, according to the release.

Yeager is now headed to Hollywood, California, on Oct. 5 where he will be one of seven dogs to receive a 2019 American Humane Hero Dog award, the News Observer reported.

The American Humane Hero Dog Awards are a nationwide competition held every year to recognize dogs that do amazing things.

Yeager will also compete for the top award the 2019 American Hero Dog. According to American Humane, the gala will be broadcast on the Hallmark Channel on Oct. 23.

Continue on to the Marine Corps Times to read the complete article.

A Reel Hero—Bob Vincent Aims to Tell Veterans’ Stories

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Bob Vincent holding his Media Award

The president of Reel Heroes Media champions military heroes and organizations with his video productions.

Bob Vincent, pictured left, president of Reel Heroes Media, was recently awarded the Carlton Sherwood BAVF Media Award, saluting media members who are dedicated to the needs and concerns of American veterans.

As a child, Bob Vincent remembers taking eight suitcases full of shampoo, toilet paper and many other items we take for granted to his family, who was living in communist Hungary at the time. The experience gave this first generation Hungarian-American, successful video producer and president of Reel Heroes Media a true understanding of what it means to live in the home of the free.

“I wouldn’t be here today if not for all those heroes who took that oath and continue to do so,” he said.

After founding his video production company Video Pilot 360 in 2008 with its successful online video-marketing platform, Vincent renamed it Reel Heroes Media in 2015 with the goal of producing videos and marketing that support active military, veterans, their families and the organizations that champion them.

Vincent says he envisions his company—which handles everything from graphic design and video production to audio visual design and content creation—as a “veteran initiative agency of record.”

“When I attended my first military support event, I couldn’t believe all the amazing heroes I met, their stories and the many honorable organizations that provide assistance,” he said. “I saw that many of them didn’t have the resources to tell those stories to the public.

“From that point on, I made it my mission to use my God-given talents to produce the stories of these heroes and the organizations supporting them,” he added.

And Vincent’s skill for doing so is evident in the many accolades he’s received from corporate giants like Disney, American Airlines and MGM Resorts International, as well as from entertainers like Rascal Flatts, Gary Sinise, Lee Greenwood and Billy Ray Cyrus.

But it’s the compelling video productions he’s created as part of his military philanthropy work that has made Vincent most proud. His work is credited for helping motivate patriotic Americans to donate millions of dollars to military supportive organizations and events, such as The Airpower Foundation, Sky Ball, American Airlines Veterans Initiatives, Snowball Express, The American Fallen Soldiers Project and The Gary Sinise Foundation, among others.

One particular video Vincent was asked to produce to show the impact the iBOT mobility device has had for veterans across the country assisted the Independence Corp Foundation and inventor DEKA Corp. CEO Dean Kamen in resuming production on the device.

“He [Dean] told me the video I produced was their most valuable tool in getting the support they needed,” said Vincent, whose production assisted in the FDA reclassification of the device, as well as the manufacturing plans for the next generation iBOT with Toyota.

Vincent’s latest project involves The Life Chest, a beautiful handmade wood chest that gives the recipient a special place to keep treasured keepsakes.

In honor of the 75th anniversary of D-Day, Reel Heroes Media partnered with Mike Elliot, founder and president of All Veteran Group, Life Chest USA, The Airpower Foundation, and All-American Limo & Transportation for a “Life Chests of Legacy” tour to gift Life Chests to WWII veterans across the country.

Vincent says he hopes to create a national movement sharing the gifting and unveiling of each Life Chest that’s delivered to a veteran.

“As we get to hear the stories and legacies of our military heroes, we will continue to share them,” said Vincent.

While he speaks fluent Hungarian and is very proud of his Hungarian heritage, Vincent is equally proud of the brave men and women who provide the freedoms his family in Hungary didn’t have while he was growing up.

“We can never do enough to support those who defend our country, and especially for those who have been wounded or for the families of those who’ve paid the ultimate sacrifice,” said Vincent, adding a Calvin Coolidge quote that he first heard from his good pal, Gary Sinise, years ago:

“The nation which forgets its defenders will itself be forgotten.”