Tibor Rubin's story shows how the great adversity can produce the great character. Sent to a concentration camp as a child, Rubin vowed that he would become a GI Joe after being liberated by American soldiers. He later saved his Army unit in Korea by defending a mountaintop alone. When captured, he refused release so that he could use lessons he learned in concentration camps to help other American POWs survive. We honor this Great American who received our nation's highest honor: http://www.greatamericans.com/video/Portraits-of-Valor-Tibor-Rubin
do you do when a 15 year old car thief steals a BMW and decides to threaten the
public by driving at 150 mph like he is playing Grand Theft Auto? You chase
him in a police Camaro with a 350 horsepower engine. The teen drives like
he is playing a videogame. But this terrifying reality -- with the
lives of dozens of motorists at stake. In their efforts to protect the
lives of others, two officers almost lose own their lives. Another
example of the extraordinary heroism of the ordinary men and women in uniform
who Great Americans was created to honor. http://www.greatamericans.com/video/BMW-M3-getaway-vs-Police
As part of our partnership with the Congressional Medal of Honor Society, Great Americans is proud to bring you the stories of real American heroes like Drew Dix. As a young special forces officer in Vietnam, Dix drove his jeep on a rescue mission to save an American nurse trapped by a surprise Viet Cong onslaught on their local village during the massive Tet Offensive. The bravery that Dix displayed in the face of superior enemy forces rallied the demoralized South Vietnamese troops in the village and ended up turning the tide of battle on one of the deadliest days of the Vietnam War: http://www.greatamericans.com/video/Portraits-of-Valor-Drew-Dix-2
Sergeant First Class Robert Groff typifies the men and women whose stories Great Americans was created to celebrate. A soft-spoken hero from a small town in the Midwest, Sergeant Groff received the Bronze Star with Valor for turning his own Humvee into an ambulance and saving eight lives during a highly organized ambush by over 250 insurgents on a 2 mile long fuel convoy carrying 100,000 gallons of fuel in Iraq. Sergeant Groff fought off insurgents as he and his crew rescued one victim after another amid burning fuel trucks and a hail of fire from a vastly larger opposing force. Thanks to his bravery, no American civilians or soldiers lost their lives in one of the worst ambushes of the war. http://www.greatamericans.com/video/Americas-Army-Real-Heroes-Rober
Saving a single human life can change the world. But even though firefighters, police and other emergency response personnel save lives every day, only a few of these acts of heroism ever make the news. That's because extraordinary courage is an ordinary part of the job that our nation calls upon our men and women in uniform to perform.
On the tenth anniversary of September 11, Great Americans proudly pays tribute to the firefighters who saved over 18,000 lives during the greatest attack on America since the Second World War: http://www.greatamericans.com/video/Into-The-Fire-911-Firefighters
In his memoir From the Hood to the Hill, Senate Chaplain Barry Black, former Chief Chaplain of the United States Navy, explains how he went from an antiwar protestor to someone with the deepest respect for the military as a school of character. Above all, he talks about how our men and women in uniform, and their families, live lives of sacrifice as they embrace a larger mission than their own personal welfare.
As we celebrate our second anniversary with the Veterans Day launch of Great Americans on http://www.hulu.com/great-americans we asked Chaplain Black to share his thoughts on the significance of Veterans Day for our nation. His words on the price paid by our veterans should remind us all that freedom is not free and our Americans in uniform and their families are the ones who pay most of our share:
We owe our veterans a debt of gratitude for their many sacrifices. They are our citizens who have paid the cost of freedom. Whether they served in a World War or are just returning from Iraq or Afghanistan, their courage and commitment deserve our tangible appreciation. Some were wounded in battle and will carry the scar for life. Others suffer from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, making some prone to violence, addictions, divorce, and suicide. They have earned the right to see our gratitude revealed through prompt, high-quality medical care at no expense to them or their families.
Fellow veterans, I salute you for your service and pray that God will compensate you for your sacrificial giving. He has promised to supply all of your needs (Philippians 4:19).
Rear Admiral Barry Black (Ret.), US Navy
Chaplain of the United States Senate
Bad role models are not the only downside of a media culture that is obsessed with actors, musicians and other celebrities. Our celebrity-driven media also implicitly denies the fact that ordinary men and women - who serve and sacrifice for the sake of others - are the real source of our nation's greatness.
Most of us have never been helped by a celebrity actor who played a hero in a movie. But most of us would not be who we are today apart from a few ordinary people who made important sacrifices on our behalf. In my own life, this was most true of my mother who struggled to raise me on a welfare income after a serious violent assault left her disabled and unable to work. So I thought it would be fitting for Great Americans to begin the New Year by honoring some of the mothers who serve our nation in uniform.
Although many Americans may not realize it, there is a whole generation of women in uniform - including many mothers - who are on the front lines of defending us at home and abroad. This profile of one military mom being reunited with her daughter offers a glimpse into the sacrifices that these women and their families make:
Watch the Video Here
Although the Pentagon Channel can be little stiff at times, they do a great job of capturing the heart of this mother in uniform - First Lieutenant Sandra Beauclair - who missed the homecoming of her two soldier sons from combat due to her own deployment as a military nurse: Watch the Video Here
Ordinary Americans who touch other lives for good - without ever being given fame, wealth or celebrity status - improve life for us all. When you hear Sandra Beauclair talk about the "nine wonderful sons" that she has chosen to adopt in her unit you'll hear the heart of a Great American speaking.
I live a good life....a hard one, but I go to sleep peacefully at night knowing that I may have made a difference in someone's life.
This is how Sgt. Kim Munley - the hero of Fort Hood - summarizes her life on her Twitter page. It's a comment on her humility that someone who fellow police officers call "Mighty Mouse" for her oversized bravery would describe her life this way.
Sgt. Munley made a difference in the lives of dozens of people who are alive today at Fort Hood because she stopped Nidal Hasan's shooting rampage while he still had plenty of ammo left. She did so because she ran to the sound of the gunfire. As a result, she prevented the kind of large scale killing that has happened in other shootings when law enforcement personnel chose to surround the scene without making an immediate entry.
The real heroes in our nation are the ones who don't think they're heroes. What makes them extraordinary is that they see themselves as ordinary Americans who are simply doing their job when they risk their own lives to protect others. This is what makes them Great Americans.
Any nation that does not honor its heroes will not long endure. Abraham Lincoln's famous statement is the reason that Great Americans was founded one year ago on Veterans Day. But we also need to listen and learn from those who have risked their lives to defend our nation. They are messengers of wisdom about courage, freedom, and sacrifice that are essential to our survival.
Army Staff Sergeant Jessica Clements has more wisdom than most people many times her age. She earned it by recovering from devastating injuries that gave her a 2% survival rate. She says that her suffering taught her to love our country and to value the sacrifices of all those who came before her.
This is an unusual video, but I recommend it highly.
Sixty seven years ago, at the Battle of Savo Island, Daniel Galvin found himself among a handful of survivors when the USS Quincy was attacked by a vastly superior Japanese force.
This is the story of his commitment to honoring the hundreds of young men who were his shipmates - almost all of whom perished in an area of the Pacific near Guadalcanal that came to be known as "Ironbottom Sound".
Many generations of Americans have sacrificed for the freedoms that we enjoy. For almost seven decades, Daniel Galvin has paid a lonely tribute to the sacrifice made by his shipmates as the society around him has forgotten about the Battle of Savo Island. But Daniel Galvin knows something that too many in our nation do not understand. We'e all the poorer when we forget this nation's real heroes. In fact, remembering them is essential to our survival.
Greatness of character is inseparable from adversity. Many of the stories on Great Americans reflect this enduring truth. One of those is the story of Marine Corporal Aaron Mankin and his wife Diana.
Corporal Mankin was badly burned from an IED attack during an operation to stop insurgents flowing into Iraq form Syria. His vehicle was blown over 10 feet into the air. Afterwards, Mankin recalls, "I opened my eyes and I realized I was on fire". Aaron Mankin
Mankin was so badly burned that it was six weeks before he could even bear to look at himself in a mirror. But the turning point came when his sweetheart Diana accepted his marriage proposal from his hospital bed. "At that moment, I realized that I was still the same man inside," he recalls.That realization - and Diana's consistent love for him - sustained him through 30 reconstructive surgeries.
Aaron and Diana Mankin are now the proud parents of a beautiful baby girl. Of his injuries, Mankin says they help him appreciate what he has been given. "I work harder at loving my daughter because of my injuries. I want her to see my scars as an advantage".
We all have a lot to learn from the story of Aaron and Diana Mankin.
One of the
greatest privileges of my work has been meeting the "quiet professionals" of our
Special Forces, whose extraordinary heroism is under appreciated by our nation.
This video captures the story of one of the most important episodes in the War in Afghanistan,
as told through the eyes of Major Jason Amerine. Amerine led a 12-man Special Forces team on
an "impossible" mission to support a spontaneous uprising against Taliban rule
in the town of Tarin Kowt. This demoralizing defeat for the Taliban set
the stage for Amerine's troops to later capture the Taliban stronghold of
team was outnumbered by more than 100-to-1 when 1,000 Taliban fighters in
a convoy of more than 100 vehicles launched an attack to punish Tarin Kowt. American air support was unable to stop them. The key to victory turned out to be a classic
SF tactic: arming the villagers and leading them in a defense of their own
homes against the Taliban.
captures what not enough Americans fully appreciate: the extraordinary caliber and courage of
American Special Forces personnel. In Amerine's
words: "The odds never felt overwhelming
to me. I had something better than
thousands of Taliban. I had an SF team."
Creator and Executive Producer
Did you know volunteer fire companies are a uniquely
American tradition? In Europe, it would be
unthinkable for anyone but the government to engage in the dangerous work of
firefighting. But in America,
the majority of firefighters are still volunteers. Ordinary Americans save the
lives of others in countless communities across America -- simply for love of
This fact speaks volumes about what has always made America great.
As a nation,we have a tradition of ordinary people caring for one another -
even to the point of risking their lives. We sometimes forget that in many
other societies, this would seem absurd. But when we forget that, we forget who
we are. That is why I love this video portrait of one volunteer fire company in
captures the greatness of the ordinary Americans who volunteer to serve as
firefighters in every community in our country.
Notice how most of the firefighters say they serve because
they saw someone else in their family do the same. That is the power of
positive role models - and the reason Great Americans exists.
Creator and Executive Producer
It's sad that most of the top-ranked police videos on YouTube deal with
the rare cases where police personnel abuse their power. It's also
unfortunate that there are still forces in our culture and media that
tend to cast the police in these negative terms.
As a kid, I
didn't dream about a home in the suburbs - because I didn't even know
what that looked like. I dreamed about living as close as possible to
the police precinct - because that was the safest place in our
neighborhood. And when I stayed up at night worrying about how I was
going to get to and from school the next day, I used to plan my route
based on where I knew the cops would be. I was only a child, but I knew
what a police uniform represented: It was the only visible symbol of
safety on the street. It meant there were people who came into our
neighborhood for the sole purpose of protecting us.
Putting the safety of others before their own is what most police officers do most of the time. Here is a video that captures that truth in raw footage. Better than any film script, the dash cam tells the
story of countless acts of selfless heroism by police personnel that
happen every day in our country.
Creator and Executive Producer
some in the media seem to have amnesia about what we stand for as a nation, America
still represents a beacon of hope in a dark world to people in societies where
human life and dignity have been devalued. In most cultures, life is not treated as precious - and violence, rather
than compassion, is the norm. There are
even societies in the Middle East in which murder
is considered a holy obligation.
That is why
every American should be proud of the amazing story of Steven Tschiderer - a
young Army medic who saved the life of an Iraqi sniper immediately after the
sniper attempted to kill him in cold blood. Tschiderer was shot with a high-velocity rifle - but his life was saved
by state-of-the-art ceramic body
armor. Watch at 2:57 into the video, when Tschiderer gets to his feet while his would-be killers are
praising Allah because they think he's dead.
most important part of Tschiderer's story is the character he displayed
after capturing the sniper who tried to kill him. Sgt. Tschiderer's instinct to help rather
than kill a wounded enemy speaks volumes about him and most of the men and
women who wear our nation's uniform. Pay
careful attention to how Tschiderer downplays this extraordinary act of compassion
as being part of the training and culture of our military - and you'll have a
measure of what makes our nation truly great.
Creator and Executive Producer
When I was
growing up in Spanish Harlem, drugs were everywhere. In addition to the addicts who shot
heroin in the park outside my building, I remember the drug dealer who would
say, "Pass me by and blow your high" to me every day on my way to elementary
school. But the worst thing about drugs was
the violence they unleashed. When
someone was shot on my street, it was usually drug related - like the time a kid
from my neighborhood was hit by a stray bullet when a drug dealer opened fire on
another dealer on our corner. The boy died,
along with the drug dealer who was the actual target of the shooting.
why, in my mind, some of the greatest heroes in our nation are the police who risk
their lives to stop the drug trade on our streets. Get a taste for what it's like to
be on the front lines of the War on Drugs by watching this riveting portrait of the DEA Swat Team in Detroit that raids crack
houses and other drug-distribution points in the most dangerous city in America. If you're an adrenaline junkie, you can watch
multiple episodes from the same series here.
Thanks, as always, to our great nation's true heroes,
Creator and Executive Producer
Something is wrong when a
Google search on Michael Jackson turns up more than 62 million hits, but few
Americans have ever heard of our nation's oldest living Medal of Honor
recipient, John Finn, who turns 100 this month. Great Americans is honored that
we were asked by the Congressional Medal of Honor Society to celebrate
Independence Day by sharing this timeless profile in patriotism as an online video
In creating the Medal of Honor, Abraham Lincoln said, “Any nation that does
not honor its heroes will not long endure.” Our partnership with the Medal of
Honor Society reflects our commitment to honoring our nation's real heroes for
their courage, sacrifice and patriotism. We hope you are enriched and inspired
by John Finn's remarkable story, which embodies the phrase "home of the
brave" in our national anthem. Here are more
videos honoring our heroic Medal of Honor recipients.
Freedom has to be earned -- and appreciated -- by every generation. You can
help us reach America
with the stories of those who defend our freedoms by joining our Facebook community.
Happy Independence Day,
Creator and Executive Producer
Celebrities are often stereotyped as self-absorbed narcissists who are
too busy counting their money and feeding their egos to trouble
themselves with real-world issues. That common perception is a shame,
because as these videos submitted by chcknhawk illustrate, there are plenty of artists who care about other people -- particularly the brave women and men in the military.
We hope you enjoy these examples of musicians who are using their art and influence to positively affect our troops:
The Crystal Method Supports the Troops
The Shins Support the Troops
Toby Keith Supports the Troops
Disturbed Supports the Troops
The Killers Support our Troops
Dropkick Murphys Support the Troops
3 Doors Down Supports the Troops
Great Americans visitors can view videos featuring everyday American heroes submitted by military personnel, military support organizations, veteran's groups, law enforcement, fire and rescue and NASA. Visitors are invited to join in the Great Americans movement and upload videos, comment and discuss content, or visit an online memorial to American heroes in uniform who have been wounded or lost their lives in the line of duty.