WWII Vet Makes Tearful Plea for National Unity at TCA

William Steele says when he served the country was united — “That’s what we need now”

A World War II veteran made a tearful plea for national unity at the start of the Television Critics Association winter press tour Thursday.

The press tour is a place for networks to trot out their new sitcoms, dramas and reality shows. It isn’t usually a place where men from the Greatest Generation share their memories and cry. But Marine William Steele Sr. did, as he recalled his service in a panel for the new American Heroes Channel series “Against the Odds.”

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Asked how military service was different in his day than it his today, he replied: “This country was united. Roosevelt and Eisenhower were together. That’s what we need now.”

As he choked up, fellow Marine John Ligato, a Vietnam veteran, touched his shoulder.

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There’s a cliche that World War II veterans never want to talk about their service. But Steele did.

“When you’re in a war, you don’t fight for honor. You fight for defense of each other,” he said. “The heroes of war are the ones that didn’t come home.”

“Against the Odds,” which includes stories of bravery, solidarity and strength on the battlefield, premieres on March 3.