Every year there are scores of big stars who go out of their way to show their support for the United States Armed Forces serving here and overseas. 2011 proved to be no exception as a range of celebrities showed their appreciation.
"The United States' service men and women lay the foundation our country is founded upon. These men and women risk their lives on a daily basis, so that we have a safe place to call home. There is never enough gratitude in the world a person can bestow, to thank an individual who defends our nation,” said entertainment publicist, Angie Meyer. "The most honorable deed an individual can do in their lifetime is to defend their country."
Fox411.com's Pop Tarts column is happy to acknowledge some of the many stars who put their time and money where their mouth is and supported our troops in 2011.
She may have been put on the spot while sitting alongside her “Friends With Benefits” co-star, Justin Timberlake, but this year Kunis proved she is a lady of her word. Earlier this year, FOX411's Pop Tarts column played cupid in asking Kunis had she seen the touching YouTube video Sgt. Scott Moore had posted from his overseas battleground, inviting Kunis to his Marine Ball. Timberlake urged his acting partner to "do it for (her country)" and Kunis immediately said she would go, and accompanied Sgt. Moore to his dance on Nov. 18.
Amid the media storm surrounding Kunis accepting her date, Timberlake soon received an invitation (yes, via YouTube) by Marine Cpl. Kelsey De Santis to another ball. Timberlake attened, referring to the experience as "one of the most moving evenings I've ever had." Honorable mentions must also be extended towards Kristin Cavallari who also followed suit and accepted an invitation to the Marine Corps Balls across the country this year.
As former U.S. Army servicemen, Martinez put his hard work ethic, skills and determination in the limelight (literally) to take home the coveted “Dancing With the Stars” winner’s mirror ball. The wounded veteran and “All my Children” actor, who won over America’s heart with his quick-step and smile, has used his newfound fame to bring awareness and support to troops and their families, by partnering with such organizations as Operation Finally Home and providing ongoing support to fellow burns victims.
When she isn’t twirling in her trademark leather and lace, music icon Stevie Nicks dedicates time to visiting wounded veterans in Naval hospitals across the globe. This year, she even went so far as to release a song on her new album “In Your Dreams” entitled “Soldier’s Angel,” which she dedicated to U.S. troops and their families and detailed her personal experiences with wounded servicemen and women. “They need people to send money to the USO and to the Wounded Warriors, and they need people just to be aware of what these kids (have sacrificed).”
Tom Cruise/Paula Patton
He’s one of the highest-paid and most famous faces in the world, but Tom Cruise is always ready to show his gratitude to the United State military. The star of the weekend's top grossing film“Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol” and his co-star Paula Patton brought some early Christmas cheer to injured soldiers in Germany this month when they took a secret trip to the United Service Organizations' (USO) Warrior Center in Landstuhl. The screen stars even surprised the troops and their families with a screening of their highly-anticipated action flick.
She might be deeply entrenched in the Hollywood scene, but Rose McGowan is equally as committed to bringing smiles to U.S. troops stationed overseas. The “Grindhouse” star revealed to FOX411 in August that she was getting ready for her second USO tour to Afghanistan, and was appreciative of the opportunity to provide the folks a little touch of their homeland. “They get really sad and forget because they feel like people have forgotten them, so I'm just a representative, a vessel, showing that people are thinking of them,” she said.
For years, “CSI” star Gary Sinise has been a tireless, extremely dedicated crusader of our nation’s troops, and 2011 was indeed no exception. Just a few of the heartfelt gestures and tokens of appreciation Sinise showed this year included charity concerts and tours with his “Lt. Dan Band” to raise money for amputee veterans to build special houses, as well as releasing the DVD documentary “For the Common Good” to raise money for vets and chronicle his experiences in remote overseas battlegrounds. “I’m always involved, trying to do what I can. I have a foundation that provides military support and helps the families, we have a lot of wounded soldiers and marines,” Sinise told this column.
According to the President of the USO, country star Tobey Keith is the ultimate fan favorite amongst troops overseas, and he never tires of lending his time and support, and sharing his musical talents with the United States Armed Services. Keith recently called it his “calling” to honor the troops.
While Hollywood isn’t always associated with a glowing depiction of the U.S. Military, director Gavin O’Connor made it his duty this year to change that. In the MMA-inspired film “The Warrior,” the famed filmmaker made sure the Marine Corps were shown positively, and even used a prominent number of servicemen as extras rather than using actors. “I wanted to salute the soldiers coming home. I think in Hollywood today, there have been so many movies about the war and some of them came out years ago when audiences didn’t really want to go to the movies when it is on the news every day,” O’Connor told FOX411’s Pop Tarts column. “I wasn’t making a political movie, but I did want to acknowledge those guys over there that have risked their lives and many of them have died, and I just wanted to tip my hat.”
A military brat herself, Munn doesn’t shy away from advocating the importance of the U.S. military and acknowledging the many sacrifices these people make to keep up strong and safe. She’s even squeezing a tour into her jam-packed working schedule. “I'll go anywhere. I don't care, just give me a back pack and some Capri-Suns and I'm good. I'd love to,” Munn told us in September. “It's a big dream of mine to be able to go around, and if I can make some people smile, then I will journey across anywhere.”
Hollie McKay has been a FoxNews.com staff reporter since 2007. She has reported extensively from the Middle East on the rise and fall of terrorist groups such as ISIS in Iraq. Follow her on twitter at @holliesmckay