2017 Phoenix Veteran’s Day Parade event
HONOR OUR HEROES PROGRAM
Actress, Singer, Dancer
Celebrity Grand Marshal
Few actresses can capture the imagination of generations of audiences with the certainty and charm of Loretta Swit. As quick-witted, impassioned Major Margaret Houlihan of television’s most honored series, “M*A*S*H,” Ms. Swit became an American icon and, with its popularity now in worldwide syndication, new fans continue to enjoy her lavish portrayal of the sensuous, sensitive, comedic Major Houlihan. She was so moved by the military and veterans she encountered she supports them to this day and recently narrated the film “Never the Same: The Prisoner of War Experience.”
Ms. Swit has been honored with such recognition as the People’s Choice Award, The Genie Award, The Silver Satellite Award, The Jean Golden Halo Award, the Pacific Broadcasters Award, two Emmy Awards, 10 Emmy nominations and eight nominations for the Golden Globe Award.
She made her Broadway debut in “Same Time, Next Year,” and in “The Mystery of Edwin Drood.” She has appeared in over 1,500 performances of “Shirley Valentine” – a role for which she won Chicago’s most prestigious theatrical honor, the Sarah Siddons Award. Tours include “Song of Singapore,” “Love Letters,” “Love, Loss/What I Wore,” and the “Vagina Monologues” in New York, Chicago and London’s West End.
Her television career boasts over 25 movies, including the original “Cagney and Lacey,” in which she created the role of Chris Cagney, with contractual obligations to “M*A *S*H” preventing her from shooting the series. Other memorable TV films are “Games Mother Never Taught You,” “Hell Hath No Fury,” “The Kid from Nowhere,” “Mirror, Mirror,” “The Execution,” “Dreams of Gold,” “Valentine” and “A Killer Among Friends.”
Ms. Swit has sung and danced her way through most of television’s musical specials, most notably “The Muppet Show” with Kermit and Miss Piggy and a Broadway television special of “It’s a Bird, It’s a Plane, It’s Superman.” She can be seen annually in “The Best Christmas Pageant Ever,” “Miracle at Moreaux,” and “A Christmas Calendar,” aired worldwide.
In the cinema, Ms. Swit has starred in “Stand Up and Be Counted,” “Freebie and the Bean,” “Race with the Devil,” “Beer,” Blake Edwards’ “S.O.B.” with Julie Andrews and William Holden, “Whoops Apocalypse,” “Forest Warrior,” “Boardheads” and “Play the Flute.”
Most recently she was “Eleanor Roosevelt” in sellout runs in Los Angeles and Chicago. A highlight was meeting Eleanor’s granddaughter at a Meet and Greet. This show and “Me and Jezebel” continue to appear on her calendar.
Her wildlife series, “Those Incredible Animals,” was shown twice weekly on the Discovery Channel for an amazing five-year run, and later viewed on Animal Planet airing in over 30 countries. Ms. Swit is as impassioned about animals as she is the theatre and is regarded as a leader in the Humane Environment. The proceeds from her recent book, “SWITHEART” (www.switheart.com) support the Animal Alliance Foundation, ending cruelty for all animals and she has a second book in the works. She has been named Woman of the Year by both the Animal Protection Institute and the International Fund for Animal Welfare.
Next up for this “force of nature energizer bunny” in 2018 is a company of “Six Dance Lessons” in New Zealand/Australia and for the big screen a romantic comedy, “White Lilies,” to film in Spain.
*Member of Actors’ Equity Association
Seton Catholic Prep
Teacher: Jessica Breen
THE UNSPOKEN HEROES: NEVER FORGET
One of the tensest eras of American history was built not on what happened, but on what didn’t happen. It was an era where there were no direct conflicts between the two enemies. An era where there were no formal shots fired. An era where we protected ourselves against hypotheticals instead of actualities. This was the Cold War, a 46-year standoff between two superpowers. My grandfather is a Cold War Era veteran.
My grandpa, Msgt. Paul G Agne, USAF Ret., enlisted in the Air Force right out of high school in 1971, serving over 22 years. When he enlisted, Vietnam, a proxy war between the U.S. and Soviet Union, was already going on. Everything my grandpa did in his military career was designed to prepare him for full-scale nuclear war.
He was stationed at Davis Monthan in Tucson until 1980 when he was deployed to Turkey to support anticommunism in the Middle East. For the safety of my mom and grandma he went alone, leaving his family for a year. Turkey was a dangerous country, with bombings and violence, but the Americans were there to support the Turks against the USSR. It took an amazing amount of courage to leave everything behind in order to protect the world from the Soviet threat, but like all veterans, he sacrificed because of his love for our country.
My grandpa said that serving in the Cold War was difficult in spite of not being a “hot war.” A majority of his time was spent knowing there was a real nuclear threat, tensions rising constantly, but he had to stay strong to take care of his family. Those in the military waited anxiously to see if the USSR would act, if a missile was headed their way or global war was approaching. It was a stressful time watching and waiting to see what happened.
My grandpa said one of the toughest parts was the effect on his family. The school my mom went to on base was kept on alert, just like the soldiers. They had nuclear drills just like we have fire drills today. The windows of her elementary school had heavy drapes as protection against nuclear fallout, and they practiced drills, hiding under desks with the drapes shut tight.
Fortunately, all the preparation for a catastrophic war was for a war that never happened. On November 9, 1989, the Berlin Wall came down. December 26, 1991, the Soviet Union dissolved. The Cold War had ended. However, in some ways the Cold War and its veterans have been lost to recent memory. There was no parade for the soldiers when the war ended. There is no Cold War medal for the veterans. They are the silent heroes of a terrifying era in American history. The debt of gratitude we owe them for their sacrifices is indescribable. They are the heroes who stood ready at the watch, preventing the war that never happened.