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Heroes show opens with salute to Chilean miners

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'CNN Heroes' salutes Chilean miners, rescuers
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • The Top 10 CNN Heroes of 2010 were honored with a celebrity-studded tribute show
  • The show opened with a salute to the 33 Chilean miners who were trapped underground
  • Anderson Cooper hosted the show from the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles

Editor's Note: "CNN Heroes: An All-Star Tribute" replays on CNN International on Christmas Eve, December 24, at 1000, 1800, 2300 GMT and on CNN/US on Christmas Day, December 25, at 6 p.m. ET/3 p.m. PT, 10 p.m. ET/7 p.m. PT, and 1 a.m. ET/10 p.m. PT.

Los Angeles, California (CNN) -- The Chilean miners who were rescued last month after nearly 70 days underground were saluted with a standing ovation at the start of "CNN Heroes: An All-Star Tribute."

The 33 men appeared on stage, with five of their rescuers in the front row, at the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles. CNN brought the group to the United States to attend the gala event, which recognizes the top 10 CNN Heroes of the year.

"For 69 days we were amazed by these 33 brave miners," CNN's Anderson Cooper said in welcoming the miners onto the stage. "Their ordeal was unthinkable; their rescue, unbelievable. No one has ever been trapped underground so deep for so long and survived.

"They endured a nightmare, experienced a miracle, and in the end became each others' brothers and heroes."

Gallery: CNN Heroes red carpet
Gallery: The Top 10 CNN Heroes of 2010
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After the miners sang the Chilean national anthem, two of them -- speaking through a translator and holding the Chilean flag -- expressed their appreciation.

"We want to thank the world, and we want to thank God for your prayers," Luis Urzua told the audience in Spanish.

"Our families suffered. Our children suffered, too. But thanks to the prayers of the whole world, we could come out of this difficulty," Mario Sepulveda added.

"Some of our rescuers are here with us tonight," Urzua said. "Thank you for bringing us home. You are our heroes."

The five rescuers were selected to represent the many thousands whose talent and effort led to the dramatic rescue.

The tribute show, taped November 20, premiered worldwide on Thanksgiving night. CNN Heroes -- everyday people who are changing the world for the better -- have been profiled weekly on the network since January. They were chosen from more than 10,000 nominations submitted by viewers in 100 countries.

A blue-ribbon panel of judges, including Muhammad Ali, Sir Richard Branson and Yo-Yo Ma, selected the top 10 Heroes, who will each receive $25,000 for their cause. An additional $100,000 will go to CNN Hero of the Year Anuradha Koirala, who was revealed at the end of the tribute show Saturday night. The Hero of the Year was selected by the public in an eight-week online poll.

Performing at the tribute show were Grammy Award-winning artists Bon Jovi, John Legend and Sugarland.

Rock legends Bon Jovi perfomed "What Do You Got?" a new song from their greatest hits album, which came out earlier this month. Legend performed "Wake Up Everybody" along with hip-hop artist Common and R&B singer Melanie Fiona. Sugarland performed "Stand Up," a new song from their album "The Incredible Machine," which made its debut in October.

Joining the list of stars participating in the show were presenters Halle Berry, Demi Moore, Jessica Alba, Kid Rock, LL Cool J, Renee Zellweger, Gerard Butler, Kiefer Sutherland, Marisa Tomei, Aaron Eckhart and Holly Robinson Peete.

Here are the 2010 top 10 CNN Heroes in alphabetical order:

Guadalupe Arizpe De La Vega founded a hospital in Juarez, Mexico, that cares for about 900 people daily -- regardless of their ability to pay. Despite the escalating violence in the city, the 74-year-old travels there several times a week to make sure residents get the care they need. Learn more about Guadalupe

Susan Burton was once caught in a cycle of addiction and incarceration. Today, her nonprofit A New Way of Life Reentry Project provides sober housing and other support services to formerly incarcerated women in California. Learn more about Susan

With her weight-loss challenge, Shape Up Vicksburg, Linda Fondren is helping her Mississippi hometown battle the bulge. Through free fitness activities and nutrition classes, residents have lost nearly 15,000 pounds to date. Learn more about Linda

Anuradha Koirala is fighting to prevent the trafficking and sexual exploitation of Nepal's women and girls. Since 1993, she and her group, Maiti Nepal, have helped rescue and rehabilitate more than 12,000 victims. Learn more about Anuradha

Narayanan Krishnan brings hot meals and dignity to India's homeless and destitute -- 365 days per year -- through his nonprofit Akshaya Trust. Since 2002, he has served more than 1.2 million meals. Learn more about Narayanan

Since 1992, Magnus MacFarlane-Barrow has dedicated his life to helping people in need. Today, his program, Mary's Meals -- run from a tin shed in the Scottish highlands -- provides free daily meals to more than 400,000 children around the world. Learn more about Magnus

Harmon Parker is using his masonry skills to save lives. Since 1997 he has helped build 45 footbridges over perilous rivers in Kenya, protecting people from flash floods and predatory animals. The bridges also connect isolated villagers to valuable resources. Learn more about Harmon

Aki Ra is helping to make his native Cambodia safer by clearing land mines -- many of which he planted years ago as a child soldier. Since 1993, he and his Cambodian Self Help Demining organization have cleared about 50,000 mines and unexploded weapons. Learn more about Aki Ra

Evans Wadongo, 23, invented a way for rural families in Kenya to replace smoky kerosene and firelight with solar power. Through his Use Solar, Save Lives program, he's distributed an estimated 10,000 free solar lanterns. Learn more about Evans

Since 2005, Texas home builder Dan Wallrath has given injured Iraq and Afghanistan veterans homes of their own -- mortgage-free. He and his Operation Finally Home team have five new custom homes under construction. Learn more about Dan

Part of complete coverage on
Meet the top 10 Heroes of 2010
Ten extraordinary people have been recognized for making the world a better place. One will be named CNN Hero of the Year.
Tribute show salutes Chile miners
The Chilean miners who were rescued after 69 days underground get a standing ovation at the start of "CNN Heroes: An All-Star Tribute."
Celebrities share the spotlight
Many celebrities have taken part in the CNN Heroes campaign. What are the causes that inspire them?
The top 10: In their own words
Get a closer look at the top 10 CNN Heroes, who include community crusaders, young wonders and medical marvels.
Who's on the Blue Ribbon Panel?
More than a dozen distinguished leaders and humanitarians chose the top 10 CNN Heroes of 2010.
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Teachers are encouraged to use this online guide to help students identify heroes in history, literature and their own lives.
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In 2009, Efren Peñaflorida was named CNN Hero of the Year for his mobile classrooms that bring education to poor children in the Philippines.
 
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