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Webcast to Feature Service Members Discussing Patriotism and Freedom

By Rudi Williams
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, April 25, 2002 – You can join a panel of military personnel and citizens April 30 at 11 a.m. EDT as they share their views on patriotism and freedom during a one-hour Internet webcast and satellite transmission.

The program will originate at Bertie Backus Middle School in Washington and will be moderated by ABC television reporter Cokie Roberts. Department of Defense officials said the program will feature a "live panel discussion among individuals whose lives are impacted by the war on terrorism."

"First lady Laura Bush made a videotape that encourages children to listen and keep thinking about what they can do to become a better citizen," said Tricia Reilly Koch, a spokesperson for Together for Freedom, one of the webcast sponsors. Other sponsors are Give Thanks America, a Compaq community outreach program; Sorenson Media; and the Department of Defense.

"I commend the Together for Freedom organization for initiating a national dialogue about the meaning of freedom and the importance of patriotism, and increasing support for our troops at home and abroad," Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld said.

Department of Education Secretary Rod Paige said, "Our students want and need to be involved in discussions about the war on terrorism and the principles upon which our nation was built -- freedom, liberty and independence."

Active duty members of the panel will include a female Air Force B-1B bomber pilot who recently returned from Operation Enduring Freedom, an Army Ranger sergeant who served in Afghanistan, and a Marine Corps lieutenant colonel who serves as a DoD spokesman for U.S. Central Command.

"The woman pilot will talk to the kids about rights -- everybody has rights and responsibilities," Koch said. "All the panelists are going to talk a lot about what freedom means to them. We're challenging the children to start realizing that you live in a great country and we are free, but with these freedoms comes something more responsibility."

Other panelists include two students whose fathers are deployed aboard the aircraft carrier USS John F Kennedy, a college student who writes patriotic plays, and a man whose wife was a crewmember on American Airlines Flight 77, which hit the Pentagon on Sept. 11.

"We hope that students, parents and other citizens will take a moment to think about freedom and ask themselves, 'What can I do, what is my responsibility?'" Koch said.

"We've got 14 middle schools that are hooked together via satellite so they can ask questions via the Internet," Koch noted. "But all of the schools across the country and Department of Defense schools overseas can dial up the Web cast at www.togetherforfreedom.org."

Participating middle schools are in California, Michigan, Illinois, Florida, Texas, Maryland, Virginia, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Washington, D.C.

Koch advised that visitors go to the Together for Freedom Web site at least 15 minutes early to register, download and install any necessary audio software.

The webcast will be available to Web viewers at www.togetherforfreedom.org or wbwebcasting.com/Freedom/.

Satellite broadcast data are: Window, 1030-1230 EDT; KU band AMC 2, transponder 1; location 85 degrees west longitude; downlink frequency, 1720 MHz; vertical polarity; and 6.2/6.8 audio.

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