October 24th, 2008
05:47 PM ET

CNN and MTV honoring veterans

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]
Kay Jones
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.

Filed under: Back from the Battle • Behind The Scenes • Kay Jones • Veterans
soundoff (5 Responses)
  1. Kelly, Operation Never Forgotten

    Thank you Anderson for filling in the gap! Your coverage brings much needed awareness for our courageous wounded warriors, troops and their families. This has been our mission exactly in addition to creating public awareness for gold star families and children of fallen heroes. We’ve rolled out thousands of outdoor billboards across America to better appreciate and honor our service members, and to help create more volunteers for military support organizations. And thank you Lee Greenwood for being our spokesperson. Check out OperationNeverForgotten.org.

    October 25, 2008 at 8:57 pm |
  2. Cleve Steve

    Saw the concert on MTV – great work!
    I like that CNN, MTV and their people used their places in sociaety and culture to do some good. People are always ready to point to CNN and MTV for the questionable things they do and promote.......creating awareness to the raw deal the vets get upon returnring from the mid east is amazing. Im going to the mtv website to sign the petition the celebrities were talking about last night.

    October 25, 2008 at 12:13 pm |
  3. mms

    i'am so glad people realized that you can support the troops without supporting a war unlike they did after vietnam.what we do to our vets is a shame.i don't think Obama will forget them like Bush has.

    October 25, 2008 at 12:53 am |
  4. Phyllis from Canada

    Right on; this is wonderful! Keep it up CNN and MTV!

    October 24, 2008 at 11:11 pm |
  5. Janice, Colorado

    I think it's wonderful that our veterans of the Iraq war are being honored in this way, I only wish the veterans of Vietnam could have been honored in the same way. Just today, I talked to a homeless Vietnam Vet – he was standing on the side of the road with a sign asking for help in his hand – sitting in a wheelchair with no feet. I hope Barack Obama remembers his promise to these vets when he takes office – Ronald Reegan certainly didn't.

    October 24, 2008 at 6:02 pm |