Ron Kovic, a decorated former Marine, received the first Messenger of Peace award Saturday at a fundraising event for the UN-sponsored International Day of Peace at the Herb Alpert Educational Village in Santa Monica.
Kovic, whose autobiography was made into the Academy Award-winning film “Born on the Fourth of July,” has been acclaimed internationally for his peace activism, said Jeanne Meyers, co-founder of the Los Angeles-based The MY HERO Project, which sponsored the event.
Supporting the event were producer/director Oliver Stone and Tom Cruise, who played Kovic in the movie. The producer and actor have both made videos lauding Kovic, who was paralyzed on his second tour of duty in Vietnam and awarded the Bronze Star for Valor and the Purple Heart.
Program highlights at the fundraiser included live musical performances and showcase art from Shepard Fairey and Kovic, plus clips from the award-winning film. Journalist Robert Scheer, who is editor of Truthdig.org, presented the award to Kovic.
Kovic continues to be a champion for peace and the arts and a leading supporter of the My HERO Project, a non-profit organization that utilizes the media and technology to inspire, educate and empower people around the world, noted Meyers. The organization also sponsors an International Short Film Festival at USC and an ongoing information program on arts which reaches millions of students in almost 200 countries.