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A Voice That Cares Defends Heartfelt Event

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I read with some dismay Howard Rosenberg’s article regarding the Voices That Care event held Feb. 10 at Warner Bros. Studios.

The people who donated their time and energies to this event, ranging from Academy Award winners to members of the many craft unions, did so with no ulterior motives. The political attitudes of those present ranged from activist anti-war to conservative. All were united in the strong belief that this was not a political event, but rather an acknowledgement of the terrible past treatment of Vietnam veterans and our desire not to repeat those mistakes.

The entire event was organized and put together in one week and mobilized the efforts of 15 entertainment unions, 100 celebrities, 200 film and video crew members, Warner Bros. Studios, Columbia Pictures Entertainment, Capitol Records, Guber-Peters Entertainment, Giant Records, Fox, Largo Entertainment, KingWorld and many agents, managers, attorneys, etc.

The event was accomplished with a purity of spirit that I have never seen in my 25 years in show business. Linda Thompson Jenner created the idea from her emotional response in support of our troops. The stars who attended didn’t arrive “with all the pomp of Oscar night.” To the contrary, it was primarily a casual affair with the exception of adequate security.

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I also take issue with Rosenberg’s comment that ". . . this may have been the most chaotic and physically dangerous media crush since the day Michael Jackson got his star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 1984.” A large area was specifically set aside for the press and lunch was also provided for them. It seems that some members of the press complain when they’re excluded and criticize when they’re included.

Rather than witnessing what a TV reporter on the scene called a “feeding frenzy,” I felt most members of the press, be they so-called “tabloid” or others, had the same emotional response to the event as did the participants. I’m sorry that Rosenberg chose to quote a TV reporter who didn’t have the courage to give his or her name; to trivialize and denigrate an event that was planned and executed with the best of intentions.

Quoting the words of one unnamed TV reporter and ignoring the dozens of positive print and TV stories that emanated from this event was mean-spirited at best. It’s unfortunate that Rosenberg didn’t choose to attend the event himself.

In a country still healing its wounds from Vietnam, it was gratifying to see unanimity that encompassed all political viewpoints, whites, blacks, Latinos, men and women, people from film, television, records, baseball, football, boxing, etc. Whether they all had great singing voices is totally irrelevant. What they all did have were big hearts and a generosity of spirit.


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