Program Note: 3 out of 4 young people know someone who is currently serving or has served in Iraq or Afghanistan. Anderson helps MTV shine a light on issues facing young veterans... Check out MTV.com for how to get involved.
[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/images/10/24/kay.chuck.copy.jpg caption="AC360° Producers Chuck Hadad and Kay Jones enjoy the show." width=292 height=320]
AC360° Coordinating Editorial Producer
Four years ago, I had the privilege to produce CNN’s coverage of a party that Ft. Hood threw for the soldiers returning from Iraq. It was an all day affair on the grounds of Ft. Hood, starting with a ceremony for those who had just arrived home from Iraq and moving on to musical acts such as Ludacris, Jessica Simpson and my all time favorite Lynryd Skynyrd performing on a makeshift stage in the middle of the base.
I will never forget how much fun these soldiers and their families were having, just knowing that they were home and being celebrated. So when I was asked to help out with CNN’s portion of MTV’s Concert for the BRAVE, I jumped at the chance.
We started our night with Anderson doing a live shot for the Situation Room in the middle of Times Square. Just a few steps away, the line of the military vets waiting to get into the Nokia Theatre went all the way up 7th Avenue. When they realized who was standing that close, many pulled out their cell phones and cameras to get a shot. Now, normally I wouldn’t blog about such fandom, but the smiles on the faces of those who got pictures of Anderson were priceless.
Transitioning inside, the excitement for the show was building. Right before the “official” show began, MTV news correspondent Sway introduced an aspiring rapper named Lorenzo Zarate, who also happens to be a veteran of the war in Iraq. The crowd loved what he did and I have a feeling it was all the more special for him, performing in front of those who he can relate to.
The entire night was fantastic. Not only were the performances great, but the stories told by the MTV correspondents and our own Anderson Cooper, Michael Ware and Dr. Sanjay Gupta really highlighted the issues that are facing these new veterans upon their return home from Iraq or Afghanistan, or in some cases, both countries.
Be sure to tune in to MTV tonight to see the concert, and Saturday and Sunday at 8pm on CNN to see a special edition of AC360°. I promise you, it is well worth your time. The stories you’ll see will touch you, and remind you about the ongoing problems these men and women of the US military dealing with after the battle.
Anderson Cooper goes beyond the headlines to tell stories from many points of view, so you can make up your own mind about the news. Tune in weeknights at 8 and 10 ET on CNN.
Questions or comments? Send an email
Want to know more? Go behind the scenes with