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. Shell Mose

    Hi Anderson,

    I, too want our troops to not be forgotten. I think this is where our money should be spent. My daughter is presently in Iraq, so this is very real to me. She is 21 and last week a bomb hit her camp. It was truly a helpless feeling. I worry about all of these kids who have not a clue to the reality of this war. I pray for them all. How do we expect for them to ever be the same? Thank you for supporting them. I know the inside story and unless you go through this with them it is hard to understand how "US" our country don't honor them as much as we honor the football and basketball hero's. The Troops are my hero's. Much honor to you for keeping us honest.

    Bonneau, S.C.

    October 25, 2008 at 9:00 pm |
  2. Jana, Indiana


    I so looked forward to this special tonight and it did not disappoint me. You and all the reporters did a great job telling these stories.

    It is good to see that our soldiers returning are getting the help that they need and I hope it continues and reaches out to all of them, whatever their needs might be.

    Thanks again for this very special program.

    October 25, 2008 at 8:56 pm |
  3. Sandy P.

    As for our American Vet,
    I love you all and I certainly thank all of you for all that you have given up for me and all those that I love. I am a product of the sixties(60's) I have always believed in protesting,and raising a little hell so that my voice can be heard when necessary. Sometimes we cannot be nice about getting our points across. The people in the United States of America need another "POOR PEOPLE's March. It is again,time for Americans to take to the streets to tell the American Government what we want for our Vet as they return home.We owe them everything and it's a shame that we need to have this conversation. Anything and Everything that our Vets need should just be a given,whatever the American Vets want should be served up to them on a silver platter,What is wrong with us? are we too lazy,scared,or stupid too take to the streets again to fight for the rights of our Vets. Come on guys,lets come together and speak up for all of these wonderful Americans.When our Vets return home from this lying,unnecessary war, they should have Job ,Homes, Money, Counseling, Medical Care, or whatever it takes. I'm ready. Just contact me. Our Vets are waiting and depending on all of us to fight for them as they have fought for all of us. Contact me. I am not affraid to speak up.

    Love and Prayers to all f our Vets,
    Sandy P.

    October 25, 2008 at 8:50 pm |
  4. Robin - Texas

    Hi Anderson
    I am so very glad that you are doing this special about our troops. I pray consistently for their safe return home and for the wounded and injured soldiers to receive the care and recovery in which they deserve. They have my heart and full support.

    October 25, 2008 at 8:50 pm |
  5. Vern

    Anderson, I am glad to see you and others out there trying to help out the veterans. I am a veteran myself so I know how hard it can be for us. After serving 22 years in the military I got out last October only to find that it is very hard for a veteran to get a job. For some reasons a lot of civilians don't think our military experience is equal to other types of experiences in the civilian job market. I have 2 Masters degrees from accredited universities and after searching for almost a year still haven't gotten a decent job. I have submitted 24 applications for jobs with the federal government with no luck. The small retirement I get is only about a third of what I was making before I got out. I guess if I want to work I am going to have to apply at a fast food restuarant or department store. Anyway thats my sob story but thank you for what you are doing.

    October 25, 2008 at 8:46 pm |
  6. Frank Frisina

    I just watched Anderson and the Iraq vet who lost his leg. (Columbia student) ... First THANK YOU to him and all the other soldiers for what they gave, and continue to give. I am honored to share the same country as these guys.

    And kudos to Anderson.... I thought his exchange with the kid was really nice and genuine... he honestly seemed humbled by this kid and I admire that.

    October 25, 2008 at 8:43 pm |
  7. Melissa

    I am going back to Iraq in 2009. My unit has recieved orders to leave again. I can say that I have not slept through the night since I came back the last time. I can say this to my unit or anyone else. If I do I lose my security clearence and I can't be a linguist. So tell me what to do, because I need help.

    October 25, 2008 at 8:34 pm |
  8. Robert Fletcher

    I watched the report on veteran's problems! Here's one that thousands of us VETS have that is overlooked! I was permanently disabled by veteran hospital errors. I have tried to get compensation for 12 years !
    I have a letter from the VA directors of the district in Los Angeles , stating I should be paid for their errors, and I still can not get my Benefits!
    I am a Viet Nam vet..They wait for me to die !
    So they do not pay my benefits ! I have every single record, etc. And I AM STILL GETTING TURNED DOWN !
    I am getting screwed ! This is an outrage !
    Robert Fletcher

    October 25, 2008 at 8:32 pm |
  9. Bill Sideris

    I saw a story on 10-25-05 about a 44 year old attorney that was ex-Army. He was called to active duty after 12 years. It was not explained how the Army can do that. I am an ex-vet and my commitment was 8 years. I would like if some one could clarify that please. I don't see how the Army can have control of your life after 12 years.

    October 25, 2008 at 8:28 pm |
  10. Carlyn Coe

    Why has nothing been said about this administration trying to close some of the VA Hospitals about 3 years ago. Here in Canadaigua, NY our citizens with the help of Senators Schumer and Clinton fought for our VA. Here our Vets were coming home from a war and the administration was trying to close some of the hospitals, making our Vets go even further for help.

    Plus all our other VETS who used the hospital.

    Just ask Hilliary Clinton or Chuck Schumer. Why, Why?

    Vets come first. Always. My son served in Iraq 2003-2004

    October 25, 2008 at 8:28 pm |
  11. Sandy P.

    To the person who made the comment ,if she had Barack Obama's ears she would tell him that the American government need to put into place,some kind of "Affirmative" Action for the returning Vets,I agree. So! why don't you tell him exactly that. Barack has a web site asking Americans to tell him what they want and would like to see happen after this election. Ofcourse,Barack can't do everything,but given the opportunity, I'm sure he can make some of our wishes come to . However,don't start expecting everything from this man and nothing from the present administration. Bush simply did whatever he wanted to do and no one seem to have had a problem with it. I know this because White Americans put Bush in for a second term to finish kicking American Ass, and kick ass he did.Everybody is out of work,
    loosing their homes,savings,as well as their precious children in a war that was a total "lie" This we all know.So, don't start expecting everything from this man just because........look at the crap he has got to strengten out behind that crazy ass Bush.Be fair,tell him what you would like to see happen and then just wait to see what he is able to do. WAIT!!!!!!!!

    October 25, 2008 at 8:25 pm |
  12. POWMIA

    Thank you for your public support of out Troops!!!
    Please also remember our Viet Nam Veterans and their Families and especially the POW/MIAs so callously left behind

    October 25, 2008 at 8:22 pm |
  13. jason-Tampa, FL

    Hey Anderson, sounds like a Great Program. I am a current US Army Soldier. Thx for the program, I just have one correction...it was part of your introduction to the first featured Army SSG, you said he won the Silver star...you actually earn them, not win. Winning seems like they were competing for them, when actually they were doing their jobs. It is a minor correction, but it actually says alot with he correct wording. Thx again for doing this program.

    SSG Philip
    US Army-
    OIF-I April 2003-April 2004
    541ST CSB | Baghdad, Iraq

    October 25, 2008 at 8:07 pm |
  14. L

    Really love you & your show but I don't believe you stating that a soldier "WINS" a Silver Star is correct. These soldiers EARNED them. That was so wrong, Anderson.

    October 25, 2008 at 8:04 pm |
  15. Morris M

    Hi Anderson,
    Glad you took the time out to host this tribute to the Veterans.I am a Veteran from Operation Desert Storm.
    Thanks for giving us this special.

    October 25, 2008 at 6:30 pm |
  16. Erin

    Thank you, thank you, thank you so much for this!! My brother has served MULTIPLE tours in Iraq and Afghanistan. It is so great to see a tribute to the troops! I wish there was more positive support for the men and women who serve and protect America. My brother was 19 years old the first time he was called to Afghanistan. I can honestly say that 4 years and so many tours later he is not the same person he used to be since being in the middle of a war. His biggest complaint is the lack of positive support. So again, thank you for this.

    Atlanta Ga

    October 25, 2008 at 5:04 pm |
  17. Hooman Moshar


    So far the U.S. government has spend over $1 trillion helping various institutions and bankers with no impact to economy. Even though it may take time for thing to settle, but the root casue of the problem still remains. The only way to solve this financial grid lock is to solve the real state problem first. If government directly buys back all the bad loans and put new ones in place of them (at proper evaluation) with zero interest rate for 5 years, then eveyone will keep their homes and have money to spend on consumer items. Banks will have a clean slate to invest in businesses to kick start the economy again. Capital investment will flow back to the U.S. instantly. In 5 years, the real state values will rise back to nornal, and folks can refinance and pay back the government.

    October 25, 2008 at 4:35 pm |
  18. Michelle,fonthill,ont, canada

    Hi Anderson
    This is going to be a great special for the troops and to show support for they they have done for the country.Thanks for being apart of it

    October 25, 2008 at 2:49 pm |
  19. frank

    I will be a veteran of the Afghanistan war and know Senator Obama has supported the veteran more than Senator McCain. This is one of the MANY reasons I am voting for Sen Obama. For you Independents/Moderates, if it is experience you are looking for, then Obama has my vote because of the people he has gathered for knowledge in situations like the Georgia and Credit/Mortgage crisis we have today. As for McCain, well he knows howhe will fix everything but that as far as he mentions on his debates, the only choice that we know he has made is Sarah Palin, which is confusing at times.

    October 25, 2008 at 1:41 pm |
  20. Cleve Steve

    Saw the MTV concert- great show.

    We should rememeber that the only reason 50 cent, ludacris, kid rock and others can even express themselves is becouse we have freedon.....freedom, courtesy of the system that these young vets secured for us through generations of them.

    Good for you AC, Sway, CNN and MTV for using your influence for important messaging and good!

    October 25, 2008 at 12:18 pm |
  21. Emie J.

    Hi AC,
    I am looking forward to watching "A night for Vets" tonight. I am an OEF2 and OIF1 veteran. My husband is also an OIF1 and OIF3 vet. I am a military spouse now but my husband is still on active duty.
    Thank you for the tribute.

    October 25, 2008 at 11:40 am |
  22. Paula, Colorado

    Hi! I enjoyed the MTV broadcast before your program last night. I was impressed that so many people came together for the tribute–and for such an important cause. It is one that isn't in the forefront of the media every day–especially during election season. You've done a great job in your reporting and in calling attention to the veterans themselves. I look forward to your weekend special, "Back From The Battle."

    October 25, 2008 at 10:44 am |
  23. anne,nfld.,canada


    I think it is wonderful that CNN and MTV are focusing on these brave men and women.They deserve it,and so much more.

    I will be watching "BACK FROM THE BATTLE" .

    I hope you have a great weekend.

    Take care....

    October 25, 2008 at 6:36 am |
  24. Megan Dresslar (Shoreline, Wa)

    Hellooo Anderson....
    I have taped this video tonight on MTV and I had go out of town... that is so awesome to watch concert!!!!! I am proud of you Anderson...... what is so amazing to help our troops to save our lives. I am also proud of our troops. that is really help each other to care! I will forward to watch CNN this weekend!!! That is so cool!!!!! Thanks for sharing with viewers and me.... I am honor to our troops in the military. My thoughts and prayers for our troops's family and friends!
    I love this!!! Thanks Anderson!!!!! Have a great weekend!
    See you next week! OXOX
    P.S. I also agree with all of bloggers....... 🙂

    October 25, 2008 at 4:06 am |
  25. rekha raman

    Dear Anderson,

    Looking forward to your show-special Sat/Sun night. I'm glad a torch is being shone on the state of veterans on their return home. Lets hope that more of them return home on a permanent basis with the upcoming new government.
    And I do remember that flashy anchor from Headline News. Is she soon going to be a part of the ac360 team- sooner or later?? I'm sure she'll do a fantastic job.
    Take care Anderson, and please, please take it easy over the weekend. Swim, relax, take a walk, and above all get some sleep.


    October 25, 2008 at 1:32 am |
  26. Julie San Diego, CA

    I live between Camp Pendleton, a large Marine base, and the Naval Base in San Diego. There's many, many homeless vets here and although the local churches have good outreach programs to support our military, the government is doing an inadequate job of reintegrating our returning veterans into civilian life.

    Even if they have been fortunate enough to come back without physical injury, many of our vets suffer psychological trauma. If they've left behind a family, it's a difficult adjustment for the entire family when the vet returns; many marriages break up.

    If there's one thing our government and communities could do to support returning vets, it would be to GIVE THEM JOBS. Most who complete their tour of duty go into the civilian sector. In this tight job market, the skills learned in the military often do not translate well onto a resume in the private sector.

    If I had Barack Obama's ear, I'd tell him that we need to put some incentives in place for employers to hire returning vets. I'm all for an "affirmative action" type of situation, with quotas if necessary, to ensure that our vets get reintegrated into the civilian world as smoothly as possible – and that means a job waiting for them when they are discharged.

    I had the privilege to "cater" an impromptu Super Bowl Party a few years back for about 70 homeless vets who were living in a tent. Someone had brought in a t.v. for them to watch the game. My husband and I found out about it and made a trip to Costco, filling the back of our SUV with all kinds of treats and goodies for these guys. It was one of the most humbling experiences of my life – they tried to thank US – it's all of us that should be thanking THEM.

    We need to ensure these men and women make a smooth transition back to the civilian world.

    October 25, 2008 at 1:30 am |
  27. Gia

    Hey Anderson,
    Very cool...I loved how CNN and MTV teamed up...I also enjoyed seeing you on Regis and Kelly - I loved your giggle laugh...you really should have danced!

    October 25, 2008 at 1:26 am |
  28. xtina, chicago IL

    Thank you to all the Soldiers, Sailors, Marines, Airmen and Coasties of the US military. Always keep in mind that what you do is not done in vain; it will be remembered, it is appreciated.. now and always.
    For stepping up, for answering the call, for defending our way of life here in America, you are our heroes.

    October 25, 2008 at 12:11 am |
  29. Jolene, St. Joseph, MI

    What a wonderful way for MTV and CNN to show respect to our veterans and troops. I hope everyone signs the BRAVE petition and we unite and put pressure on the next president to not forget our veterans. Thanks to all those in the U.S. military who have fought and who are continuing to fight and protect America.

    October 24, 2008 at 10:00 pm |
  30. Melinda

    I will certainly be watching! Thank you so much for shining light on this issue that always seems to just go away. I really feel for these men, women and their families considering what they are given when they finally come back.

    I am so proud of them!!! My prayers are with the troops and families. God Bless them all.


    October 24, 2008 at 9:56 pm |
  31. Maureen T


    That is wonderful that you have joined with MTV to honour the veterans! Newscaster and music together, brilliant! Unfortunately in Canada I am not able to view the sneak peak! Can't wait to see the special this weekend though! Anderson on the weekend too! 🙂

    October 24, 2008 at 9:39 pm |
  32. Kathy, Chicago

    The political scene has taken all of the press away from the war and it has been made insignificant. I'm glad you are showcasing the brave men and women who are really trying to make a difference, no matter what politicians say. Keep up the good work, AC!

    October 24, 2008 at 9:35 pm |
  33. Jennifer - Michigan

    Hi Anderson, You are doing such a great job with everything. I'm looking forward to your 360 special this weekend. I'll be watching. Thanks for all you do, we appreciate all your hard work. Hope you have a great weekend. See you later.

    October 24, 2008 at 9:29 pm |
  34. Brandi-bottom of the boot


    Thank you so much for taking part in such a wonderful event. The internet is one of the few ways in which we can stay in contact with our loved ones overseas.

    A message from those I know:
    US Army 101st Airborne in Baghdad relays their deepest thanks to you and everyone else for the recognition. They also said to go vote! 🙂


    October 24, 2008 at 9:07 pm |
  35. Lori - IL

    Anderson -

    I'm probably showing my age, but this will be the first time I've watched an MTV special. I'm looking forward to the special edition of 360 tomorrow night as well. The clip aired on last night's edition of 360 was very moving.

    I have a good friend who served in both Desert Storm and most recently in Iraq. He came back from Desert Storm full of stories and details of what he saw. This time, he's not talking.

    I would like to thank you and all those involved for using your celebrity to draw attention to those who "answered the call" for our country. With today's ecenomic conditions and the election dominiating the news, it makes it too easy to forget our veterans. And wether one believes in the war or not, our veterans deserve to be remembered and honored.

    October 24, 2008 at 8:46 pm |
  36. Annie Kate

    Looking forward to your special and I am so glad there was this special night for the veterans. I'm glad that as a nation we have learned from the the lessons of Vietnam that our soldiers are deserving of honor and respect whether we agree with the war or not. I only wish we could have learned that lesson sooner before our vets from Vietnam came home. All our vets deserve the best and I sincerely hope they get it.

    Annie Kate
    Birmingham AL

    October 24, 2008 at 8:31 pm |
  37. Heidi B

    I think thats wounderful what your doing and MTV i hope to watch

    October 24, 2008 at 8:28 pm |
  38. Fay, CA

    It's always great to see the troops and veterans getting the support and praise they deserve, the sacrifices that they have made and continue to make for their country should not be overlooked or forgotten–I hope that more will be done to improve the lives and health of veterans–we owe them our gratitude and so much more. Looking forward the specials.

    October 24, 2008 at 7:45 pm |
  39. Kathy

    I feel like I have to say something. The world..and I repeat..the world will never treat returning veterans the way that veterans were treated when they returned from Vietman. Never, never will you see that again. At least , that is my prayer. They serve their county and most of all...they selflessly serve us all.

    Like Demi Moore said in a Few Good Men...something like "they stand on that wall and say nothing will hurt you...not under my watch."

    Soldiers deserve far more than we can ever give them. Repect and dignity are the very least that they should ever receive from those humbled amoung us for their service.

    October 24, 2008 at 7:39 pm |
  40. Max

    So cool ... a NEWS guy with MTV types????


    October 24, 2008 at 7:38 pm |
  41. Kathy

    As usual, if anyone makes them listen....it's you. You are the BEST!
    Keep it up.

    October 24, 2008 at 7:20 pm |
  42. Lori, Boston

    Hi Anderson,

    Looking forward to watching both shows! What a great tribute to our vets and soldiers. Also, thank you for being so informative. Love your show!

    October 24, 2008 at 7:03 pm |
  43. Clarence Albuquerque

    Thanks for moving the news from beyond the show- man- ship of the candidates into the lives of real people. I don't know that I'll catch the program but t I hope the different perspective brings what the real sacrificers ( and their families) are struggling with, into the hearts and homes of your audience.

    October 24, 2008 at 7:00 pm |
  44. pati mc., camp hill, pa

    Hi Anderson,

    Moved indeed. I was crying over your preview last evening on 360. It totally gave me goosebumps.

    My cousin is on her way back to Iraq as we speak, so I doubly appreciate the time and work you are giving to the subject.

    Tonight sounds great. I hope we get to see the propsal! How exciting! Robin is amazing' good for her. Sounds like there was fun to be had and all for a wonderful cause.

    Can't wait to see "Back From The Battle"tomorrow evening. See you later tonight. Have a great weekend (even though we know that you are prob working). Enjoy!

    October 24, 2008 at 6:39 pm |
  45. Martina Ilstad Germany

    Hey Anderson
    I take a lot of time,to make shure how and will i react to your "support the troops".Since today i thought you are a man,who lost so many in your life,that you understand what it means war in Afghanistan or in Iraq.There are joung men and women dieng just now,and i am not shure it makes anything better,if you tell this were a lot of music plays.Of course the veterans do a good job,but it is their job.Whats about the people living in this area?O.K. i am German,and i think about war in a compl.different way,but sorry i dont understand your position.

    October 24, 2008 at 6:36 pm |
  46. Kristien,Antwerp, Belgium

    Hi Anderson,
    I'm looking forward to the 360 special, it sounds like it's gonna be a very emotional program!
    Eventhough I don't support the war, I do admire all the men and women who fight for their country (wherever they come from) and I'm sure that veterans all over the world face the same problems after they get home.

    Thanks for the sneak peak at the MTV concert, I'm affraid that it might be the only peak I'll get of it overhere in Europe 🙁

    See you tonight, Kristien

    October 24, 2008 at 6:11 pm |
  47. Cindy

    That is a great thing that you, CNN and MTV are doing to honor our vets. I hope they all had a great time...oh and you too!

    O noticed on the webcam that you came in all in a hurry and had to put on your tie...which BTW you redid 3 times cause your crew was joking on it being crooked. Next time don't listen to them! LOL It was fine.


    October 24, 2008 at 6:05 pm |
  48. Lilibeth

    Hi Anderson, glad you took the time to team up with MTV to host this tribute to the veterans. Their courage is unparalleled and our country owes so much to these people. I am in awe of them. I'm sure this tribute lifted their spirits.

    I also look forward to your 360 special tomorrow. Have a great weekend!

    Edmonds, Washington

    October 24, 2008 at 5:58 pm |
  49. Jana, Indiana

    Anderson, I am looking forward to your special. I like that you continue to focus on our troops. They need all the recognition they can get for all that they have done for us.

    Thanks for giving us this special.

    October 24, 2008 at 5:43 pm |
  50. Pamina

    Hi Anderson,
    My uncle is a veteran, not of Afghanistan or Iraq, but a veteran nonetheless. It's shocking how much pushback he gets when he tries to access care through his "benefits". It is disgraceful that the people who put their lives on the line to protect us get treated this way. Thank you for spotlighting them.

    October 24, 2008 at 5:42 pm |
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