From Bull Run to Mogadishu, American Valor takes a moving and
compelling look at America’s military heroes: those brave soldiers,
sailors, Marines and airmen whose actions have earned them the country’s
highest military recognition, the Medal of Honor.
Stories of the Medal of Honor’s
recipients unfold through newsreel footage, photographs, military
art, and interviews with recipients and the comrades who witnessed
their heroic acts. American Valor
examines how the medal is more
than a decoration for bravery; it is a way of helping understand
who we are as a people, what we have experienced and what values
Since its inception in the Civil War, the Medal
of Honor has chronicled America’s struggle for freedom. The
medal reflects the heroism of individual Americans, but in many
respects it also mirrors our broader social history — including
the racism that denied recognition to some American heroes who served
valiantly in World War II.
To date, the Medal of Honor has been bestowed upon
3,440 individuals, only one woman among them — a Civil War
doctor. It took nearly 60 years for 29 African-American and Asian-American
soldiers to be recognized for their heroic actions in World War
II. They were finally honored, many posthumously, at ceremonies
at the White House in 1997 and 2000. Two of those recipients, Vernon
Baker and George Sakato, are featured in American Valor.
The last action for which the Medal of Honor was
awarded occurred in Mogadishu, Somalia, on October 3, 1993. Medals
were presented posthumously to the families of Delta Force members
Gary Gordon and Randall Shughart. Black Hawk helicopter pilot Mike
Durant, whose life was saved by the two medal honorees, is featured
in American Valor.
Funding for American Valor
has been provided in part by the Anheuser-Busch
Foundation and the McCormick Tribune Foundation. Additional funding
is provided by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting and PBS.
Tony and Golden Globe Award winner and five-time Emmy Award nominee
Brian Dennehy, a former U. S. Marine, is the film’s
Filmed in cooperation with the Congressional
Medal of Honor Society, American Valor is executive produced
by Lionel Chetwynd and Norman S. Powell of Whidbey Island Films.
Together they have produced 18 public affairs programs and documentaries
for PBS, including National Desk and Darkness at High Noon:
The Carl Foreman Documents. The executive producers for WETA
are Dalton Delan and John Potthast. The film is directed by Emmy
Award-nominee Powell and written by Academy Award-nominee Chetwynd.
Ellen Levine and Kristi Wuttig are the film’s producers.