FORT KNOX, KY (WAVE) - Donning his trademark aviators, Kevin Costner walked alongside U.S. Army Reserve Commanding Generals during a ceremony honoring fallen soldiers. It was a grand entrance, but he didn't show up for the fame, fortune or publicity.
Instead, the Hollywood star helped unveil a memorial honoring soldiers from the 11th Aviation Command and subordinate units at Fort Knox this weekend.
The A-list actor saluted the men and women in line-up who've come home and those who never will . "I've had the luxury and safety net to be able to play heroes without the heavy lifting," Costner told the crowd that included Gold Star Families, a classification for military families who've lost loved ones during active duty.
"When I've had to imagine myself in a battle, a life or death struggle, it is just that. My imagination," Costner said.
Costner wrote and dedicated a song to those who gave all as Fort Knox officials unveiled a memorial in memory of five men and women killed in a helicopter crash in Afghanistan, including Doug Hamburger's son, Staff Sgt. Patrick Hamburger.
"It was very emotional. And very touching. We're so thankful the Army, which was Pat's family, recognized him and the other four members of that crew," Hamburger said.
"It was meaningful moment for us, too. I met the families out at the moment and I think right after this interview meet with them again without lights and cameras," Costner said.
When the camera's flashes dim and all but the empty monument remain, a bronze battle cross will forever stand in front of the engraved names of the soldiers killed.
The soldiers who were honored are: Chief Warrant Officer 4 David Carter of Centennial, Colo.; Chief Warrant Officer 2 Bryan Nichols of Hays, Kan.; Staff Sgt. Patrick Hamburger of Lincoln, Neb.; Sgt. Alexander Bennett of Tacoma, Wash.; and Spc. Spencer Duncan of Olathe, Kan.
They died with 25 other service members in Afghanistan last year.