America Supports You: Actors Visit Troops, Tour Pentagon
By Samantha L. Quigley
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, Nov. 30, 2006 Servicemembers at Walter Reed Army Medical Center here and the Pentagon weren’t imagining things yesterday; they actually were seeing stars.
Emmy-winning actor Ed Asner studies the panel representing the Defense of Freedom medal that's part of the Pentagon's 9/11 memorial during a Nov. 29 visit to the building. Asner, who stars in the Hallmark movie "The Christmas Card," took a brief tour of the Pentagon with three of the movie's other stars. The group and Hallmark representatives spent two days in the area visiting wounded servicemembers at the National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda, Md., and Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington and promoting Hallmark's "Card for Troops" program as well as the movie. Photo by William D. Moss
(Click photo for screen-resolution image);high-resolution image available.
Four of the stars of the Hallmark Channel’s new movie “The Christmas Card” visited with wounded servicemembers at Walter Reed before stopping at the Pentagon for a tour.
Hallmark announced its membership in the America Supports You program in a news conference Nov. 28. America Supports You is a Defense Department program highlighting ways Americans and the corporate sector support the nation’s servicemembers.
Each stop yesterday made a big impression on the group, but the Walter Reed patients really affected actor Peter Jason, who plays Con Stapleton in the HBO series “Deadwood.” One soldier in particular stood out.
“He had an attitude I would love to have,” Jason said.
That soldier, Tom from New York, was hit by a sniper’s bullet while serving in the war on terrorism. It entered one hip and exited the other. Jason said the high-energy soldier was having a hard time just lying in bed recovering, but was doing so without complaint because “it seemed to be working.”
“To see the character of these men and women, it really makes you proud,” Jason said. “Just the courage and passion of country, it made you feel great.”
It was the servicemembers’ courage that John Newton, one of the stars of ABC’s “Desperate Housewives,” noted. In the Hallmark movie, he plays a soldier who falls for a girl who sent him a Christmas card. “The thing about our trip that really touched me the most is just the courage,” Newton said. “There’s no pity. They’re just like, ‘OK. This is what’s happened, and I’m moving forward.’”
Seeing where an airplane hijacked by terrorists crashed into the Pentagon also touched him. “That was pretty humbling to be standing right where the impact was,” he said.
The Pentagon’s sheer size and its city-in-a-building feel inspired shock and awe among the group. “I was impressed with the size and how clean everything is,” Jason said. “I thought it’d be just like a big old office. I’m just sorry everybody has to walk so far to get to their office.”
The group, which included Emmy-winning actor Ed Asner and actress Alice Evans, as well as several Hallmark representatives, made a brief stop in the Defense Department’s briefing room, where the four cast members took their turns behind the podium. Then it was on to lunch in one of the food courts and a stop for souvenirs at the Fort America gift store.
They wrapped up the trip to promote Hallmark’s movie and “Cards for Troops” program with a group photo near the visitor’s center at the Pentagon. While it was a busy trip, Asner summed it up very simply. “It’s been a wonderful trip,” he said.