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Born on the Fourth of July

Director Oliver Stone is making good his promise to Ron Kovic, a fellow ex-grunt and Purple Heart recipient, to tell the disabled Vietnam veteran's story. The vow came nine years before Stone's 1987 Platoon, the wildly successful story of his Vietnam War. Born on the Fourth of July (1989) stars Tom Cruise, who plays a Vietnam vet in a wheelchair who bitterly protests the war in which he fought. Kovic and Stone collaborated on the script, and in 1978 co-wrote the first draft, which was based on a book written by Kovic. Kovic's memories of their 1978 dream are painful: "Oliver had said to me. If I ever get the opportunity to direct, if I ever break through, I'll come back for you.' And he never forgot that promise ...."

Ron Kovic has been in a wheelchair, paralyzed from the waist down, ever since his spine was shattered by North Vietnamese bullets in a fire fight not far from the DMZ, near the Cua Viet river. Toward the end of the war, he was frequently seen on TV angrily denouncing the Vietnam War as a "crime" and the U.S. government's treatment of its disabled Vietnam veterans. "I would tell them . . . that we must never let what happened in Vietnam happen again."

If you would like to attend the 5:30 reception and 6:00 dinner, please return the attached coupon. The lecture begins at 7:00.