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Letters From Hollywood was created to give people in the entertainment community a way to reach out to you, America’s military. This week’s letter comes from the versatile actor Bill Smitrovich. He has appeared in scores of films including “Independence Day”, “Iron Man”, “Air Force One” and “Thirteen Days” as Gen. Maxwell Taylor.

Dear troops:

There are many in our great country who don’t know the meaning of “service.” Men and women of the military — and the Families you all leave behind — are the very definition of service. You are the backbone of who we are, and you represent America to the rest of the world. You provide all Americans, and the people you protect and serve abroad, with a large measure of confidence and freedom, to continue our lives, with liberty for all.

I am proud to be an American. I am also fortunate, and secure, in knowing that our freedom and democracy are protected by you: the American men and women in uniform who make the sacrifice to give us these gifts.

I hope that you all realize how important and loved you all are, and that your days ahead are filled with success and pride in knowing what you mean to me, this country and the free world. I have had the honor of playing many military characters in my career, to visit and entertain your fellow Soldiers, and their Families, and to support many wonderful and worthwhile causes, so civilians like us can give feel a measure of payback for all that you do for us and our Families. I salute each and every one of you! I pray that you all may come home safely and, upon returning to our soil, continue to thrive in this country that you so ably and courageously serve. Your service is invaluable and your sacrifice is greatly appreciated.

I respectfully say to each and every one of you: Thank you from the bottom of my heart for giving your heart, body and soul to the service and safety of our country!! Come home soon. Peace. But never forget.

Bill Smitrovich