Tom Brokaw, longtime news anchor for "NBC Nightly News" and author of "The Greatest Generation," will be The American Legion's special guest at its Jan. 21 Salute to Heroes  Inaugural Banquet & Ball in Washington.
A 1998 recipient of The American Legion National Commander's Public Relations Award, Brokaw has garnered seven Emmy Awards during a distinguished career that began in 1962 at KTIV-TV in Sioux City, Iowa. In 2005, Brokaw was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences; the following year, he received the Walter Cronkite Award for Journalism Excellence.
Brokaw's book, "The Greatest Generation," chronicles the lives of Americans who grew up during the Great Depression and fought in World War II – either overseas or on the home front. Brokaw called them "the greatest generation any society has ever produced."
James E. Koutz, the Legion's national commander, said Brokaw's presence at the Inaugural Ball will make the event even more memorable for the Medal of Honor recipients who attend.
"We will be honoring men who fought and sacrificed in America's wars, including a few of 'The Greatest Generation' who defended our country in World War II," Koutz said. "Mr. Brokaw wrote an outstanding book about that generation, and I'm sure all of our Medal of Honor attendees look forward to seeing him at the ball."
As a high school student in 1957, Brokaw participated in the Legion's Boys State program and was elected governor of the South Dakota program. Boys State teaches America's youth about government and how it operates.
Over the past half-century, Brokaw has reported on major events that have affected America and the world, including the space shuttle Challenger disaster, the fall of the Berlin Wall and the destruction wrought by Hurricane Andrew.
On 9/11, Brokaw anchored NBC News until after midnight. When the second World Trade Center tower collapsed, he said, "This is war. This is a declaration and an execution of an attack on the United States."
Since 1953, The American Legion has hosted a presidential inaugural ball in Washington. This year, the event pays tribute to the 81 men who were awarded America's highest military honor. The ball has been attended by presidents, first ladies, vice presidents, members of Congress and chairmen of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
The Inaugural Ball will be held at the Renaissance Washington, D.C. Hotel at 999 Ninth St. NW. Tickets for both the banquet and ball are $250 apiece. Ball-only admission is $125 per person. To purchase tickets, please contact Wanda Tallakson at (202) 861-2700.