A group of Hollywood filmmakers, sports teams and Deadline’s parent company Penske Media Corp are among those teaming to support the launch of this country’s first annual National Heroes Day today. The Day is designed as a celebration of every day Americans who perform courageous and selfless acts of heroism.
National Heroes Day comes on the 48th anniversary of NASA’s successful Apollo 11 Moonwalk mission, and is inspired by the heroism of those who sacrificed and risked their lives saving others in the Aurora, CO movie theater shooting on July 20, 2012, when a gunman killed 12 and injured 70 others. It was the largest number of victims in a mass shooting in the U.S. until the Pulse nightclub tragedy in Orlando four years later.
Aurora Theater Shooting, 3 Years Later: When Moviegoers Became Superheroes
Filmmakers lending support to National Heroes Day include John Ridley (12 Years a Slave, Let it Fall), Ice Cube (Straight Outta Compton) and Cube’s Big3 League, Randall Wallace (Heaven is For Real, Braveheart), Mike White (Enlightenment, School of Rock) as well as the Philadelphia Phillies and The Hero In You Foundation which honors first responders and encourages youth who want to become the next generation of heroes.
Deadline’s film editor Anita Busch organized National Heroes Day to honor the heroes in Aurora — and across the country — who have gone largely unrecognized.
“Every day heroes impact our lives, save others and help those suffering. This day is for them,” said Busch in announcing the initiative. “My cousin Micayla Medek’s life was taken in the Aurora movie theater shooting. Four outstanding young men died protecting their girlfriends. Families of the deceased, those with brain and spinal cord injuries and both civilians and first responders with PTSD are finding the strength to persevere daily. Sometimes just getting out of bed in the morning is an act of courage. We have unsung heroes across these United States who were never recognized — ordinary people who perform extraordinary acts. National Heroes Day is a day to showcase America’s true heroes.”
July 20 marks the day Americans did the seemingly impossible, the first moon landing with Apollo 11, and Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin’s historic moonwalk. It was a momentous time for the country when the U.S. won the Space Race, besting the Russians.
“There were so many Americans involved in the Apollo Program who were unrecognized,” said Ted Melfi, whose Oscar-nominated Best Picture Hidden Figures spotlighted the unsung African-American women heroes of that era. “I’m very happy to be part of this day to shine a light on those in the shadows who deserve recognition.”
National Heroes Day will continue throughout the year “to honor those extraordinary individuals who are role models for others: whose selfless acts have saved lives, who fight bravely against impossible odds and who light the path for others by setting a shining example.”
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