Superstars and celebrities honor the U.S. Armed Forces at Tribute to the Troops 2011

Superstars and celebrities honor the U.S. Armed Forces at Tribute to the Troops 2011

FORT BRAGG, N.C. – Superstars and Divas joined some of the hottest celebrities in entertainment for a press conference on Sunday to kick off Tribute to the Troops, WWE’s annual celebration saluting the brave men and women of the United States Armed Forces. The holiday extravaganza will air this Tuesday, Dec. 13 at 9/8 CT on USA Network.

This year, the most patriotic show on television emanates from Fort Bragg, home to the Army Airborne Forces, Special Forces, U.S. Army Forces Command and U.S. Army Reserve Command. WWE Champion CM Punk told the troops and members of the press that he was thrilled and humbled by the opportunity to visit and entertain the troops and their families at this elite military installation.

“On behalf of all of the WWE Superstars and Divas, I just want to say thank you for having us here,” The Voice of the Voiceless said. “This is the biggest show of the year for a lot of us Superstars. WrestleMania is a huge show, but to be able to give back to all branches of the Armed Forces is something that is special to all of us. And for me, personally, it’s cool to see all of the soldiers, the daughters, the sons, the moms and the dads and to be able to shake their hands, look them in the eye and say ‘thanks for being there.’”

Joining Punk for the ninth annual Tribute to the Troops will be Superstars from both Raw and SmackDown, as well as an exciting lineup of special celebrity guests. Scheduled to perform are Grammy Award-winning R&B icon Mary J. Blige, multiplatinum rock band Nickelback and comedian George Wallace.

“This is a wonderful way to give back,” Wallace said of Tribute to the Troops. “When I see happy people, it makes me happier.”

Miss USA  Alyssa Campanella will also be making a special appearance, while Extra’s Maria Menounos – who famously went toe-to-toe with current Divas Champion Beth Phoenix on Raw in 2009 – promises to lace up her boots and step into the squared circle once again despite The Glamazon’s warnings.(MORE ON THIS TWITTER BATTLE)

Continuing WWE’s longstanding commitment to spreading goodwill to U.S. Armed Forces members serving overseas, WWE CEO Vince McMahon, Kofi Kingston and The Bella Twins recently visited troops serving in Kyrgyzstan and Afghanistan. (PHOTOS)

“It was one of the most amazing experiences we’ve had,” Brie Bella said with a grin. “It was very humbling.”

Also showing off his pearly whites in anticipation of the star-studded show was John Cena, who has a longstanding connection with the U.S. Armed Forces.

“[Tribute to the Troops] is us saying ‘thank you’ the best way we know how,” the 10-time WWE Champion said.

Cena’s bond with U.S. servicemen and women was deepened on Friday, Dec. 9, when the Cenation leader accepted Fort Bragg’s Iron Mike Award – an honor that recognizes exceptional volunteer service – on behalf of WWE. Major General Rodney O. Anderson presented the Cenation leader with the prestigious award at a “be a STAR” bullying awareness rally held at the base’s youth recreational center. In return, Cena honored Anderson with a replica WWE Title.

“I know what the Iron Mike Award means to Fort Bragg, and any time we get that type of recognition for what we do, it really is a feather in our cap,” Cena told the troops. “We do this for the right reasons. We do it for you guys. But when we can get an esteemed honor from the military, I dig stuff like that.”

 Follow @TributeToTroops on Twitter for photos and updates from Fort Bragg, and be sure to tune in to WWE Tribute to the Troops this Tuesday night on USA Network.

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