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Last Updated: Friday, 11 April, 2003, 11:44 GMT 12:44 UK
Heston's war cry for troops
Charlton Heston
Heston is President of the National Rifle Association
Veteran film star Charlton Heston has sent a patriotic message of support to US troops in Iraq.

The actor also attacked Hollywood's anti-war protesters in his statement.

"There is no duty more noble than that which has called you across the world in defence of freedom," said 79-year-old Heston and his wife Lydia.

"Rest assured that while pretend-patriots talk of supporting you, even as they condemn your noble cause, an unwavering vast majority of Americans share and take pride in your mission," he stated.

The actor is the president of the National Rifle Association, which supports gun ownership in the US.

He is also a staunch supporter of George Bush's Republican party.

Heston, who starred in classic films Ben Hur, El Cid and Planet of the Apes, said that the US forces represented "all that is good and right about America and the true face of American patriotism".

"You walk in those same righteous footsteps of all those patriots who, before you, fought to preserve liberty for all," he told coalition troops.

The actor was also vocal during the war in Afghanistan in 2001, calling on the US public to stay optimistic during the campaign.

During World War II Heston served for two years with the 11th Air Force, stationed off Alaska.

Since then he has championed many causes - he marched with Martin Luther King, campaigned for US presidential candidate John F Kennedy and recently served six terms on the board of the Screen Actors' Guild.

He was diagnosed with Alzheimer's Disease in 2002 but says he has not noticed any difference in his health since doctors gave him the diagnosis.

Leading the criticism against the war in Iraq are actress Susan Sarandon and her husband Tim Robbins.

Sean Penn, Dustin Hoffman, Martin Sheen, Robert Redford, Martin Scorsese and Oscar winner Adrien Brody have also expressed concern over the conflict.

Actress Jane Fonda, who famously protested against the Vietnam war in the 1970s, told Canadian newspaper The Globe and Mail that she is pessimistic about the situation in Iraq.

"It's hard to imagine a happy ending to the US-led war in Iraq.

"What's it going to mean for stability as a nation, for terrorism, for the economy I can't imagine. I think the entire world is going to be united against us (the US)," she said.

Heston takes illness in his stride
05 Sep 02  |  Entertainment
Charlton Heston rallies the troops
26 Dec 01  |  Entertainment
Sheen defends anti-war views
18 Mar 03  |  Entertainment
Hollywood's march against war
28 Feb 03  |  Entertainment

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