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Regis and Kelly to Feature Troop Holiday Messages

By Donna Miles
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Dec. 16, 2003 – Regis Philbin and Kelly Ripa, hosts of the popular morning talk show, "Live with Regis and Kelly," will feature televised holiday greetings from deployed U.S. troops to their loved ones at home throughout Christmas week.

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Regis Philbin and Kelly Ripa will feature televised holiday greetings from deployed troops on "Live with Regis and Kelly" throughout Christmas week. Courtesy photo

(Click photo for screen-resolution image);high-resolution image available.

Footage of troops in Iraq, Afghanistan, Kuwait, Korea and Bosnia, all shot by crews from the Armed Forces Network-Iraq and the Army/Air Force Hometown News Center, will air beginning Dec. 22, according to Michael Gelman, the show's executive producer.

Gelman said the series will launch with a three- to four-minute montage of holiday greetings from many of the deployed troops a feature he called "a real tear jerker."

Additional troop messages will air between other segments featured on the program during the following days, Gelman said.

Philbin said he sees the messages as a way to express thanks to U.S. service members who will be separated from their families during the holidays.

"These young men and women are making a huge sacrifice for their country by being away from home during the holidays," he said. "Giving them the chance to connect with their families through our show is one small gift we can give back to them."

Philbin served in the Navy during the 1950s, and credits a Marine Corps major with helping to encourage him toward the path that led to his success.

In his autobiography, "I'm Only One Man," Philbin recalled that the day before he left active duty, his friend asked about his plans. Philbin wrote that he spoke of his dreams of working in television, but that he admitted he wasn't sure he had the talent to succeed.

"Don't you know you can have anything you want in this life?" his friend demanded, thundering at him, Philbin wrote, "like I was a fresh recruit."

"You just have to want it!" the Marine said. "So -- do you want it?"

"And for the first time," Philbin wrote, "I heard myself say it and mean it. 'Yes sir!' I cried. Yes, I wanted it." The next day, Philbin got into his car to drive to Hollywood.

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