Shawn Efran is an Emmy- and Peabody-winning TV producer, who covered the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan for CBS's "60 Minutes." He is the Executive Producer of "Home of the Brave" and the founder of Efran Films and we are honored to have him share the story of the series here.

Most of us don't know what it means to hear the crack of a bullet past our ear, or to climb into a Humvee and wonder if this is your last ride. Most of us can't imagine running towards the person shooting at us, or returning home to find yourself ducking every time a door slams.

But the men and women who serve our country do and most of their stories have never been told.

"Home of the Brave" is a 12-part AOL video series that lets our soldiers, sailors and Marines tell their own tales in the way they tell them to each other -- with the grit left in.

You'll hear the stories of:

  • David Bellavia, who received a Silver Star for engaging half a dozen enemy fighters in an effort to protect the lives of his fellow soldiers.
  • Father Paul Shaughnessy, who volunteered to go into a vicious firefight without a weapon so he could bring spiritual comfort and last rites to Marines in battle.
  • Thomas Hudner, who crashed his own plane in an attempt to rescue an African-American colleague at a time when America was viciously divided by race.
  • April Burson, a rare female medic, who helicoptered into dangerous and uncertain conditions to save the lives of her fellow soldiers.

This Independence Day, please join us in listening to the men and women of the armed services. To view the series trailer, visit AOL On.

Earlier this year, AOL launched Homepage for Heroes, a site to recognize, honor and support those who dedicate their lives to protecting ours. The multi-phased initiative will allow AOL users to engage in supporting troops through donations of talk-time minutes, letters to the troops and job opportunities. Visit www.AOL.com/heroes for more information.