Brooklyn actor pays tribute on Veterans Day with “Just a Common Soldier”
The rain couldn’t scare these veterans away as Brooklyn-born actor Tony Lo Bianco and the Times Square Advertising Coalition hosted an event in Times Square on Tuesday morning, in honor of Veterans Day, to pay tribute to the 21 million living veterans who served in the military.
“It is a great honor to be here,” Lo Bianco said. “I just want to make clear that we are concerned, very much, and praise our veterans very much. We want to make sure that the VA takes care of them. They are our heroes.”
Even in the heavy rain, dozens of people, veterans, active duty soldiers and other dignitaries showed up in Times Square for the viewing on the Clear Channel screen near 47th Street. The five-minute video is a reading by Lo Bianco of an A. Lawrence Vaincourt poem known as “A Soldier Died Today.”
“Tony and I produced the video you are about to see to get people thinking about veterans who have given so much for our country,” said producer Stephen Clouse. “We are particularly stirred by how young people have reacted to it. We all know about Facebook and Youtube, but for so many this video gives a perspective they haven’t seen before. When I showed this video to my wife’s father, who was a Special Forces officer, he said, ‘I’m just a common soldier.’”
Clouse explained that the pair got the idea for the video when people were moved to tears when Lo Bianco used to read the poem at small gatherings. The video got 6 million views within the first five days it was published this past Memorial Day. It currently has more than 11 million views.
“I want to remind everyone that this is a volunteer army, so please, let’s at least take care of them when they are injured taking care of us,” Lo Bianco said. “We need that kind of concern. They are some of the most well-trained people that we have. They have to be hired, cared for.
“I thank you all for coming out here in this weather. You are true patriots. God bless you very much.”
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