Saturday’s night’s celebration of Ron Kovic was a powerful tribute to honor the Vietnam veteran and peacemaker, who has been a campaigner for peace over the last 40 years. It took place on International Day of Peace Celebration on September 21st at the Capshaw-Spielberg Center for Educational Justice in Santa Monica.
See image: Ron Kovic and Robert Scheer; photo by Jamie Beckert
The evening’s festivities included live music and prominent speakers like director, Frank Cavestani, who showed excerpts from his film, Operation Last Patrol (1972), which documents Kovic’s historic cross-country trip, from Los Angeles to Florida, to protest the Vietnam War at the 1972 Republican National Convention.
Other speakers who gave heartfelt tributes were filmmaker Skip Blumberg, documentarian Loretta Smith and Joyce Sharman, wife of former Laker coach Bill Sharman. Notable highlights were from director, Oliver Stone and actor, Tom Cruise who offered video greetings applauding Kovic for his bravery and perseverance.There was also an inspiring film presentation of recipients of the Ron Kovic Peace Award from the last few years.
See image: Frank Cavestani; photo by Jamie Beckert
The evening concluded with a moving presentation by legendary journalist, Robert Scheer who presented Kovic with the first MY HERO Messenger for Peace Award.
Scheer called Kovic “a great orator” and “an American hero.” When accepting the award, Kovic thanked the audience, and The MY HERO Project, and urged the crowd to use truth to take a stand against violence. He then asked everyone in the audience to join him, with the other speakers on stage, to sing a poem, A Dream of Peace, that we were given when we entered the theatre. It was a beautiful way to end the evening – the love that filled the room was palpable.