BOTH PHOTOS ARE BY LIZ H KELLY 12/04/16
Actor, Comedian and Musician Jim Belushi entertains over 4000 veterans, service members and their families at the Veterans Holiday Celebration in West Los Angeles
Jim Belushi (“Show Me a Hero”) and Dan Akroyd (“Saturday Night Live”) came out to cheer and sing for veterans at their 24th Annual Veterans Holiday Celebration tonight for over 4,000 veterans, service members and the families at the West Los Angeles VA Campus. Everyone was there to “Honor America’s Heroes”, and 800+ volunteers made it all come together.
Opening Ceremonies included the US Naval Sea Cadets Presentation of the Colors, Holly Sedillos sang the National Anthem, and then Chaplain Dov Cohen welcomed guests.
Jami Bess (Jim Belushi’s daughter) sang with her dad before the headliners hit center stage. She gave the crowd heartfelt thanks by sharing, “Thank you for having me. I just want to serve you guys the way you served us. Thank you so much for all your work.”
Jim Belushi and Bella Donna then performed on stage with crowds dancing and cheering. When legendary actor Dan Akroyd joined Jim on stage for “Soul Man”, the crowd went wild!
As the celebration came to a close, Jim thanked the veterans, volunteers and band members and shared with a big grin that “he came all the way from Brentwood” (literally next to the VA).
Over 4000 veterans and their families enjoyed the 24th Annual Veterans Holiday Celebration at the VA West Los Angeles
From the holiday banquet hall to the entertainment tent and sponsor tables, we were fortunate to meet veterans from World War II, Vietnam, Afghanistan and Iraq, and hear their brave stories. According to Forbes, there were just over 21 million veterans in the United States in 2010, and the number decreased to approximately 19.3 million in 2014. With the many challenges facing our veterans, it’s also encouraging to see groups like Warriors Heart (peer-to-peer healing programs for addiction and PTSD) reach out to the Veterans Administration to offer help with the overload.
Many thanks to the volunteers who made this Veterans Holiday Celebration a huge success. And join us in deep gratitude for all the men and women who have served our country. Thank you for your service, and Happy Holidays!
This post is hosted on the Huffington Post’s Contributor platform.