October 24th, 2008
10:35 PM ET

Join us: CNN & MTV honor the vets

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.

Anderson with MTV's Sway at the taping of MTV's special 'A Night for Vets'

Anderson Cooper

Last night just before the broadcast, I was at the Nokia theater in Times Square for a really cool night in support of our troops. CNN and MTV teamed up for a tribute to veterans home from Iraq and Afghanistan, and the brave men and women who are still serving. The place was packed with vets and their loved ones, and it was such an honor to meet them and be a part of the event. (Here's a sneak peak)

My buddy Robin Meade from Headline News was also involved, and she did a great job, she even got a vet to propose to his girlfriend. I’m not sure how she managed that, but the girlfriend said “yes,” in case you are wondering. There were a lot of live musical performances – 50 Cent, Ludacris, and other big names appeared on tape, like Kanye West and Linkin Park. But it really was a night dedicated to veterans, highlighting the lives they live now, and the challenges they’ll face in the future.

The special airs tonight on MTV at 8pm, and then both tomorrow night and Sunday night at 8pm we are airing a 360° special on CNN called 'Back From The Battle.' I hope you'll watch. I think you will really be moved by some of these vets stories, by their courage, and by their determination.

Filed under: Anderson Cooper • Back from the Battle • T1
soundoff (88 Responses)
  1. Lisa L

    Dear Anderson,

    I thank the veterans for their peace keeping efforts and I hope to see them come home to their loved ones soon.


    Lisa L
    Sydney, Australia

    October 28, 2008 at 4:54 am |
  2. Dee Stevens

    Anderson, the presentation by CNN & MTV honoring VETS "Back From The Battle" about young veterans was well presented with a human side of love and compassion. Thanks for honoring the troops Anderson Cooper.

    October 27, 2008 at 2:24 pm |
  3. Terra Hoskins

    Anderson, last night's special was really well done. Thanks for covering so many different issues facing veterans. It's true, we civilians don't understand the complexities, but we can educate ourselves and find ways to help.

    You totally made that vets year when you offered to write a reference letter. I can't remember his name, but he was the incredibly tall Columbia student. Watch the tape, it was a priceless moment.

    October 27, 2008 at 1:25 pm |
  4. Mary H. St. Louis, MO

    I enjoyed the Back from the Battle show and also the MTV Concert for the Brave. You did a great job and thanks for taking the time to support the vets. I think it is even more important than ever given the current economic meltdown. I'm afraid, the vets from the current wars will not get the support they need when they get home.

    October 27, 2008 at 10:07 am |
  5. Paulo


    I just viewed your "Back from the Battle" special. Why don't you advocate integrating two American tradgedies together. Inaugurate a "War Corps" to rebuild the disgrace of ignoring the destruction of Katrina.
    Put the vets to work on American front lines. Rebuild a city and lives at the same time. Give them the opportunity to rejoin society and rebuild a great city at the same time.

    October 27, 2008 at 6:04 am |
  6. sherold wheeler

    Annonomous, I am a considered white female with a college degree, I am finding it almost immpossible to get a job in my new field of work. I am a mother of two getting child support for only one child, a almost ex who is not working due to his own fault. I am having to work in another field 10,000 dollars in debt from college loans. Black women hold more degrees and make more money than white (single) mothers. Who is helping who only with their middle class tax breaks? Look up further stats on income and compare if you want. I hope to have a job soon in my degree level after two people have finally seen the other side. I have applied for this same job more than once.

    October 27, 2008 at 12:08 am |
  7. Jo Ann

    Dear Anderson,

    Thank you for the special "Back from the Battle." These are stories that deserve to be told and these men and women and their families deserve to be appreciated and respected for their sacrifices.

    Jesus Vidana was right when he said that soldiers are forever changed, even if they come home without injuries. War is definitely a life changing experience; it is something that they will live with forever.

    I enjoyed hearing Gary's update on Sgt. Garth Stewart, he is to be admired for his perseverance and I appreciated his candor. It was nice of you to offer him a letter of recommendation.

    I think it is outrageous that people like Chris Brown, who have fulfilled their obligation to this country, are called back to serve, especially at the age off forty-four. This brings me to the problem I had with this event.

    I realize that the soldiers enjoyed the concert, but I have to admit that I am a little uncomfortable when celebrities seem to exploit these veterans to promote their music, movies, or just to get publicity for themselves. Why don’t these celebrities ever feel the need to serve their country? It seems the ones who benefit the most from the opportunities this country has to offer sacrifice the least.

    I appreciated your uplifting story of Matt Keil and "Homes For Our Troops;" it is truly an extremely worthwhile cause! You were right when you said that more attention must be paid to our military. All of us benefit so much from their sacrifices.

    I wish all of our soldiers the very best!

    Jo Ann
    North Royalton, Ohio

    October 26, 2008 at 10:51 pm |
  8. Howard

    I believe that removing a murderous and oppressive regime was a legitimate provocation to go to war. We have achieved militrary victory. What is the intention of the Mccain camp? He continually expresses his intention to guarantee victory in Iraq. What are his further intentios? Does he intend to utilize combat troops to alter and influence centeries of mindset and culture. The insurgents in Iraq state that their motivation is their hatred for America. If we remvoe ourselves from that arena, wouldn't it alleviate their cause.

    October 26, 2008 at 10:25 pm |
  9. Brandi-bottom of the boot

    to Jay/AL:

    I have not forgotten any of you, my uncle gave his life in Vietnam for all of us, my father served during Vietnam, my grandfather served in WWII. I could continue, but the honor i give them could never be put into words.

    Our vets do need much more support, both past and present. Your service is invaluable to me and many others.

    Thank you, Jay, and every other veteran who has ever served Our country.

    October 26, 2008 at 9:59 pm |
  10. Anil Gopinath

    Veterans, policemen, firemen are the backbone of this country..to name a few.. It is sad to note that they or their family do not get back in return for what they give!!!!

    Anil Gopinath

    October 26, 2008 at 9:54 pm |
  11. Pam

    I have a nephew that just left for Afhganistan so I was really anxious to see your special that aired tonight. Unfortuntely I was where I couldn't see it. I was hoping it would be aired again but didn't see it listed on CNN's schedule. It there a possiblity that it will be? We owe these men and women so much, thank you for paying tribute to them.

    October 26, 2008 at 9:34 pm |
  12. Lisa

    Jay from Al,
    You are not forgotten... I know life is hard and it feels that way. Many Iraq vets and others feel that way too. I think, It depends on the area of country you live in as to how you are treated.
    I am at a local community college and I find myself defending the military all the time. It makes me angry that you and others have served and are serving this country where we have freedoms and they sit and critize the men and women fighting for us. That is hard for me as a mom who has a son actively defending our freedoms.
    My son has just gotten back from Iraq and he is suffering from depression and I believe PTSD. Especially after watching this special it has just reconfirmed my beliefs.
    Thank you Anderson. And Jay may God bless you.

    October 26, 2008 at 9:06 pm |
  13. Moe

    It great to praise Veterans but it is even greater to help Veterans get fair treatment in todays American society such as there might be a possibility of the State of Georgia not being fair in how it treat some disable veterans state employees.

    October 26, 2008 at 9:03 pm |
  14. Dan

    Great program, as i watch tis i am writing a foreign policy issue, and running through the internal factors of state action, and i can't seem to understand what is it about the institution of military that in todays day and age we are using it for criminal acts, we use military as our way to deal with criminal acts. Why, under International Law, which all of world governments, and their supreme courts abide by, classifies terrorism as a criminal act, so why are we not dealing it in criminal way. Are our other institutions so weak, that military institutions are the only resolve. I don't know? What do u or others think.
    Thanks to the men and women in US and other world Militaries and those on the front lines.

    October 26, 2008 at 8:55 pm |
  15. Ryan

    I love listening to the comments that the soldiers have to make. They seem to get cut-off when they have more to say, I would like to hear them and not the reporter as much.

    Support our troops!!!

    October 26, 2008 at 8:53 pm |
  16. Ricky

    Why won't the VA give veterans an automatic disability rateing if they served in Iraq or Afganinstan at least 50%

    October 26, 2008 at 8:35 pm |
  17. Pat Hall

    When our troops return from war and have PTSD and addictions, why can't some of the closed army bases, such as Fort Benjamin Harrison, in Indianapolis, Indiana, be utilized for housing while treatment and other services are made available? In addition to treatment, classes for lifeskills and vocational skills could also be made available.

    October 26, 2008 at 8:20 pm |
  18. DeWayne E Blair SSG US Army MED Retired

    The US Army is blowing the wounded or injured off by passing them off to the VA, the US Army will give a certain amount of disabilitie, than tell you go to the VA for med. or financial help. When the VA says you get so much. The VA denies you some disabilities. So you have to resubmit an resubmit time after time, to get any help.

    October 26, 2008 at 8:20 pm |
  19. Vicky, Ottawa, ON

    I'm sure it meant a great deal to the veterans and their families that you and MTV participated in this event. I was so impressed with how families are dealing with the hardships with which they have to cope. The stories about the man who is now a student at Columbia and the newly married couple who had to meet such great challenges were so inspiring. Talk about crises resulting in growth! Every so often, I meet Canadian soldiers who have served in Afghanistan, sometimes more than one tour. They are always so humble and self-effacing when thanked for their service, and their families have also made such huge sacrifices.

    October 26, 2008 at 7:29 pm |
  20. Rose from Muscoy


    THANK-YOU and CNN for you support for all VETERANS from all the WARS. I have two friends that I live with and they are from the VIETNAM ERA.
    When my friend Byron E. Jester came home in 1968-1971 from serving in the MARINES in California. He saw hippies burning the America flag and being called baby killers and some looked down at them like their where nothing and you wonder why these veterans have mental problems? They saw things that you couldn't imagine.
    I thank them every VETERAN'S DAY, and glad that they made it home. But sometimes, Anderson they wish they didn't. It is a sad thing to see, but my friend Byron got help with counseling and faith he is living a good life with people who loves him and support him.
    That is what these men and WOMEN need love, support and faith and knowing there's somebody to listen to them no matter what.

    October 26, 2008 at 6:58 pm |
  21. Gary M Los Angeles, Ca

    Yes covering our current soldiers and our returning vets in ths documentary was a moving emational feeling in my heart. I am a USNR veteran 72 to 74 and I am currently wok for a non profit orgainzation name New Directions Inc. located on the Veterans Adminstration Medical Center in West Los Angeles, CA. I work as the Program Supervisor for our 50 bed dual dianosis program. We are now seeing returning soldiers with substance abuse and mental health and homeless issues in our program. Watching the inteview with the veteran going to Columbia U. was a insperationf for me. i plan to use things I herad and saw to motivate some of the residents in our program. One being that it can be worse, and to cherish life to its fullest. I extend an inventation to visit our program to you Mr. Cooper.
    NDVETS.ORG is our website
    Gary Meraz

    October 26, 2008 at 6:24 pm |
  22. EJ (USA)

    Many of the vets really love Anderson – because he seems like one of the few who never forgets about them. Nice job on the show Anderson.

    October 26, 2008 at 5:14 pm |
  23. Susan


    Thank You for your wonderful program. These men & women serve to protect OUR rights and freedom. We would not be the country that we are today if it were not for all of our military heros. We should look up to them with our deepest admiration.

    I want you to know that I will go to cnn.com/impact and make a donation.

    Thanks for the program.


    October 26, 2008 at 4:49 pm |
  24. Josephine

    I am always know Anderson is the reporter never take side, that is why I'been watching 360 for so long, and I can't wait to see Anderson
    helps MTV shine a light on issues facing young veterans….... but for the past few months, I find Anderson just like any other reporter, always pretecting the Democrats?? I don't understand why can't you do a special for investation for Acorn and Bill Ayers story?? I know the Economy is very important, but at the same time don't you think if for the next 4 years Democrats dealing business with Acorn and Bill Ayers........will that be good for America?? we need a honest leader to lead America with clean business. I am hoping you can give viewer an answer, not like rest of the CNN and MSNBC, give Democrats a FREE PASS for everything. we need to know the truth in order to decide which party I should vote for president.

    October 26, 2008 at 1:37 pm |
  25. Jay/AL

    Ya know all this is well and good the Iraq war vets are praised, this is good.
    We from the 2nd, Korean, and Vietnam war have been for gotten.
    Being from the Korean and Vietnam war and a disable vet makes one from this era feel worthless. More so the Korean Vets who have been fotgotten.

    October 26, 2008 at 8:32 am |
  26. nisar

    hi,i did not watch the programme it must have been good,but have we thought of local civilians who lost thier love ones and became handicapped for ever.what for?

    October 26, 2008 at 2:14 am |
  27. Lilibeth

    Hi Anderson, I saw your "Back from the Battle" special tonight. Two things that struck me: 1) The young man who went to Columbia after serving in Iraq who needed a letter of recommendation so he could teach at Columbia. You offered to give him one. That was so generous of you. The look on his face after your offer was so precious! He couldn't believe it. Anyway, I thought that was a great moment. 2) Sanjay's story of operating on a soldier while he was covering the war. He went from journalist to neurosurgeon and saved his life. Even though it's possible there were other surgeons around, I thought it was serendipitous that Sanjay happened to be there to treat him.

    I was also touched by the man who received a home from "Homes for our Troops". I'm so happy for him and his wife, that they have been given a home suited to his needs. Of course, a lot of our other troops aren't so fortunate; in fact, many of them are homeless. So I've decided to donate to "Homes for our Troops." What they do for our veterans is absolutely wonderful.

    It is heartbreaking to me that the battle our troops face when they come home is more overwhelming than the battles they fought during the war. When our troops come home, they should be taken care of. After all, they risked their lives serving our country. The least they should get is proper medical care, a job, and a future they can look forward to.

    Thanks, Anderson, for this special. I was so moved by it. Have a great rest of the weekend.

    Edmonds, Washington

    October 26, 2008 at 1:31 am |
  28. Lori

    Great job, Anderson, CNN, MTV and all of those involved! What a great way to pay special tribute to our troops! They are extremely special men and women who deserve our love and respect! As Americans, we have the right to agree and disagree about policies and wars, about political candidates and their running mates. But these men and women, and those before fight for us to have the RIGHT and LIBERTY to disagree and then VOTE for our choices and beliefs. I commend these troops on their service.....no matter their beliefs, policies, race or creeds. They deserve our respect as Americans who serve. Thank you, Anderson for highlighting these special men and women!

    Little Rock, AR

    October 25, 2008 at 11:57 pm |
  29. Linda M

    The show for the vets was great and When Obama becomes president I am sure he is going to support our troops

    October 25, 2008 at 11:00 pm |
  30. Vincent


    Thank you for doing the story on the Iraq Vets tonight. It was great and it is always needed to remind America of the sacrifice that these men and women make every day. Thank you!

    October 25, 2008 at 10:15 pm |
  31. donald stojakovich

    Mr.Cooper, I just want to Thank You for all you do,and bring out the stories that others are afraid to do. And the MTV show was far of the scale in helping our troops,MY HAT GOES OFF TO YOU!! To bad you are not running for president. God bless,and be with you,your family,and all of your news partners. Keep up your good work!! Don

    October 25, 2008 at 10:05 pm |
  32. POWMIA

    Homes for our Troops is a great idea
    Please let us now how we can contribute
    thank you

    October 25, 2008 at 9:56 pm |
  33. Judith

    I don't support the war but I certainly support the troops.My husband was in the Navy during the Cuban Missile Crisis,my cousin in Nam.
    We Need Sen Obama for President to get our Country back on track.
    These service men and women coming home need to have jobs, not like so many right now that have been either taking short job work weeks or job loss along with losing healthcare.
    Sen McCain had voted against the GI Bill and Sen Obama knows that these wonderful people that are serving our Country Protecting her should be able to get the education they deserve and should have.

    October 25, 2008 at 9:41 pm |
  34. Lee

    My soon is will be in Iraq this coming Tuesday (he is currently in Kuwait) , thank you for your show and your continued support of our troops! It helps those of us who have loved ones over there. Keep it up!
    San Antonio, TX

    October 25, 2008 at 9:38 pm |
  35. benjamin/tennessee

    I support the troops

    October 25, 2008 at 9:28 pm |
  36. benjamin/|||Tennessee

    I joined the army in 2000 and went to basic training,I had a nervous breakdown in basic training. The drill sargents treated me worse after I got discharged. Drill sargents kept harrassing me and making fun of me. One drill sargent said I was faking it.When I got out of basic training I was diagnosed with Psychosis and severe depression. I'am currently on medication. I have a special hatred for the military and president bush. I feel the military just brainwashes people to kill,and lies about the reasons. I feel our country is becoming like a Nazi country.

    October 25, 2008 at 9:21 pm |
  37. Walter

    I am writing to question a comment made after the interview with the two amputees on the show. The female CNN reporter (sorry I do not remember her name) said to Anderson Cooper "they could have retired with full compensation” – what is that full compensation?

    An active duty Sergeant (E-5) with 6 years in service makes $2400 per month / Staff Sergeant (E-6) with 6 years in service makes $2600 – for amputated leg would he get 25%? maybe 50%? During my 2007-2008 deployment we had one soldier become triple amputee. I don’t know what was his compensation but I know his mother had to quit working to take care of him. They were struggling with just his compensation and the father’s paycheck BUT what if he didn’t have a supportive family?

    BTW, I served with Goldsmith in 3-15 IN in Sadr City during the 2005 deployment. I moved to another unit but I heard about his issues and him eventually getting discharged. I'm glad he is OK….

    October 25, 2008 at 9:19 pm |
  38. Gerri Toth

    Hi Cooper,
    You are a dear man. Would it be possible to send me the phone # & address of that incredible company, that is building free homes for those wounded gi"s. I want to send a check,

    Thank you for the caring, wonderful human being you are.

    Do you know what a MENSCH is? ASK a JEWISH person. You are that & more.


    October 25, 2008 at 9:18 pm |
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