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American Legion Honors Spielberg

September 10, 1998

NEW ORLEANS (AP) _ Steven Spielberg sent his regrets and a Hollywood-style thanks to the American Legion, which honored him with an award for ``Saving Private Ryan.″

In a videotaped message played on big-screen televisions for thousands of veterans at the legion’s national convention, Spielberg called World War II ``the defining event of the 20th century.″

``Now, with the response to `Saving Private Ryan,′ generations are coming together to understand how fortunate we are today to live in a free world because of what you and the millions of other veterans did for us,″ the director said in the message played Wednesday.

Spielberg, who was in Europe for the movie’s opening there, was given the group’s ``Spirit of Normandy″ award.

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