|Posted by Administrator on May 20, 2013 at 2:05 PM|
Memorial Day is coming up on Monday, May 27th. Several of Nashville's finest country stars share their thoughts about the holiday and do their part to honor the troops.
Brantley Gilbert says, “That day is definitely heavy on my heart. It’s the day to remember those who laid down the ultimate sacrifice for us and for our country. Trying to embrace that concept is almost impossible.” Brantley is a supporter of all of our military men and women, but days like Memorial Day take on extra significance for him because he has many family members who have served.
In fact, Brantley says, “That was actually an option or an idea for me when I was kinda in limbo with what I was gonna do with my life. But I’ve got some cousins that have been over in Iraq and Afghanistan. My cousin Josh actually lost his best friend in Kirkuk City, Iraq, so I know that day’s heavy for him. And it is for all the members of my family that have been in the military.”
Brantley recently returned from his first USO Tour and he makes a point to support our military whenever he has the opportunity because he says, “It definitely means a lot to me, not just because my family’s involved in it, because of what our military stands for. I’m a huge supporter, to say the least. Definitely, support for the troops is definitely right up there on top of our priority list.”
As the Eli Young Band travel the country, they are always mindful of the men and women in the military who make it possible for them to live out their dream.
“There are a lot of men and women out there that give their lives in such a huge way,” says Mike Eli. “I know for the four of us, we get to play music for a living and we get to live this incredible life because those men and those women that have sacrificed so much for us, and their families have sacrificed so much for us.”
All four guys in the band have family members who have served in the military, which is why they always do their best to honor those men and women whenever they get the chance. “I know that a lot of folks out there appreciate that chance to just have the opportunity to have your freedom,” says Mike. “To go and follow your dreams is just an incredible thing and we wouldn’t be able to have that without them.”
Memorial Day is a very special holiday for The Band Perry, as well. Not only because they have so much love and gratitude for our troops, “That sort of service I can’t even imagine. And we’re so grateful for that commitment,” says Kimberly, but also because of a special celebration they share each year with their grandmother. “We go with our grandmother back to her home in Mayath, Mississippi, where there’s this Memorial Day event that her church has hosted since, as long as we can remember,” explains Kimberly. “After the service they have this huge lunch,” adds Reid. “Everyone will bring a dish and it is one of our favorite things to go to.”
The siblings have fond memories of visiting with some of the veterans when they were writing their first album. Reid says, “We went down there and we just listened to a lot of the stories that they had to tell because there’s some amazing anecdotes.” Kimberly says some of the stories were just unbelievable. “And we recorded them and unfortunately, so many of those folks who had told us those stories three short years ago are no longer with us, so it’s really like this moment in time that we’re trying to soak up before it’s gone away for us.”
Thomas Rhett has always had a respect and an appreciation for our military, but it wasn’t until he went on tour with Toby Keith last year that he really had the opportunity to play shows for military people and retired vets. Thomas says, “It’s always been a dream of mine to do a USO tour. I know that Toby’s done countless USO tours. I know a bunch of my buddies have done them. It is definitely something that will be in my plans for the future.”
For Thomas Rhett, being able to play USO shows would be a small way to give back to all the men and women of the military for what do for our country every day. “When talking about our troops, it’s just one of those things where you’re very, very thankful for what they do for you,” he says. “I think a lot of the time, most of the time, we take for granted living in a free country and a lot of the time we don’t stop and think about who is actually protecting our freedom. Because a lot of them technically aren’t in our country; they’re in other countries fighting for us so that other countries aren’t fighting against us.”
Justin Moore has a deep respect and appreciation for our military that was instilled in him from a young age. He says, “I had one grandpa who was in the Navy and one that was in the Air Force and they’ve instilled in me the importance of our men and women who make the sacrifices on a daily basis that they do so that we can … be free and feel safe in the greatest country in the world.”
Justin tries to recognize and honor military members as often as he can, whether it be during a show every night or participating in benefits for our military. He hasn’t had a chance to go overseas and do a USO Tour yet, but it’s something he definitely would love to do because he says, “Those men and women deserve much more than just a show here or there. They are much appreciated and deserve a lot more recognition than what we all give them.”
Tim McGraw is a proud supporter of the men and women in the military and he says, “It doesn’t matter what your politics are, it doesn’t matter what your religion is or any of those things. If you’re an American, you’re proud to have those guys out there and they sacrifice quite a bit; they sacrifice everything.” And he believes, “We just need to vocalize that as much as possible.”
With Memorial Day coming up Tim says we should all remember, “We get to do a lot of things in this country. We have a lot of freedoms and no matter ups and downs, or good or bad or whatever, it’s still the best country in the world to live in. It’s only that way because we have these guys that are out there looking out for us.”
This summer Tim has once again teamed up with Chase and Operation Homefront to award a mortgage free home to a military veteran at each of his stops on his Two Lanes of Freedom Tour. He gave away 30 homes last year on the Brothers of the Sun Tour and will give away 31 more this