(New York, NY) — Servicemembers Legal Defense Network (SLDN), OutServe, and the Interbank Roundtable Committee (IRC) today announced that journalist Barbara Walters will serve as emcee for the upcoming event, "Celebrating Our Heroes," scheduled to take place on Tuesday, September 18 aboard the Intrepid Sea, Air, & Space Museum in New York City. Marking the first anniversary of the repeal of the discriminatory "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" (DADT) law, the event will be a tribute to all American service members and will honor former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Admiral Mike Mullen, who played a significant leadership role in repeal, which took place on September 20, 2011.
"The addition of Barbara Walters as our emcee for the evening makes an already exciting lineup even more spectacular. It's only fitting that America's most influential and accomplished journalist - who has made history herself a time or two - would join us for this historic and emotional event," said Army Veteran and SLDN Executive Director Aubrey Sarvis.
Walters has arguably interviewed more political figures and celebrities than any other journalist in history. She is so well known that her name and a brief biography is listed in the American Heritage Dictionary. In September 2004, after 25 years as co-host and chief correspondent of ABC News' 20/20, Ms. Walters left the show to begin a new phase in her career at the network as co-owner, co-executive producer and co-host of The View. She remains an active member of the news division and network, substantially increasing the number of primetime ABC News specials, in addition to her "Barbara Walters Specials." Through the years she has interviewed such world figures as Russia's Boris Yeltsin, China's Premier Jiang Zemin, Great Britain's former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, Libya's Moammar Qadaffi and Iraq's President Sadaam Hussein. She was also the first American journalist to interview Russia's President Vladimir Putin and the first to interview President and Mrs. Bush following September 11. She has interviewed every American President and First Lady since Richard Nixon. She made journalism history by arranging the first joint interview with Egypt's President Anwar Sadat and Israel's Prime Minister Menachem Begin in November 1977.
"Having someone of Barbara Walters' depth of world experience and caliber is a perfect match for this tribute to Admiral Mullen's courage in helping our nation live out its promise of equality for all," said Elizabeth Birch, former President of the Human Rights Campaign and a key organizer of the event.
The September 18 celebration in New York City will be the first in a series events hosted by SLDN and OutServe across the country during the week to commemorate the first year of open service by America's gay and lesbian service members. The anniversary of repeal is September 20.
The September 18 event is sponsored by: UBS - Verizon - BNY Mellon - GlaxoSmithKline - Bank of America - DiversityInc - Winston & Strawn LLP - Viacom - MillerCoors - Absolut - Citigroup - UPS - Renna Communications - Ernst & Young - Honda - General Motors - Human Rights Campaign - Merck - Shook, Hardy & Bacon, LLP - Credit Suisse - SAP - Interbank Roundtable Committee - Financial Services Industry Exchange (FSIX) - The Out NYC - XL Nightclub - KTCHN Restaurant
The event will begin with a VIP reception at 5:30 p.m. A general admission event will begin at 6:30 p.m. and will conclude at 9:30 p.m. For more information, to sponsor the event, or to purchase tickets, visit www.sldn.org/intrepid2012.