Inside the legendary Opry House in Nashville, Tennessee, DAV joined hundreds of country music fans to honor military service members, veterans and their families with a concert from powerhouse performers like Craig Morgan, Cam, and The War & Treaty.
The Grand Ole Opry’s ‘Salute the Troops’ concert was presented by Humana, in partnership with DAV, on country music’s most iconic venue leading up to Memorial Day.
DAV National Adjutant Marc Burgess stood feet away from the famed wooden circle–a piece of history from the original Opry House stage–and accepted a $20,000 donation to DAV from Humana and USAA.
“It was an honor to accept such a generous gift on behalf of DAV, and at such a storied place in country music history,” said Burgess. “We at DAV are endlessly grateful for our partnerships with Humana and USAA, and for their unwavering support of DAV’s mission. Together, we can better serve disabled veterans and their families now and for generations to come.”
“Humana values the work that DAV does every day to support veterans and their families,” said Ed Sandrick, director of Humana’s Veterans Channel. “It is rewarding to bring our partners together to help the communities we serve.”
DAV National Commander Andy Marshall, a combat-wounded Army veteran of Vietnam, also took the stage to introduce the packed Opry House to the more than century-old organization.
“We hope that those in the audience left the Opry House with a strengthened sense of patriotism and gratitude for what veterans have done and continue to do for this country,” Marshall said. “For the veterans who were in the audience that night, we hope it was a reminder that you are not forgotten and you are not alone.”
Before the concert kicked off, active duty service men and women and veterans, including DAV members, were invited to walk a red carpet led by a drumline and ending with a meet-and-greet with the night’s performers. Other artists included Western music and comedy group Riders in the Sky, “The Voice” winner Jake Hoot, Bluegrass group Dailey & Vincent and “I Wish Grandpas Never Died” singer Riley Green. DAV member Stephen Cochran, a combat-disabled Marine and country singer/songwriter attended the event as a special guest.
The night featured an emotional and soulful rendition of “God Bless America” by The War & Treaty, a husband and wife duo of Army veteran Michael Trotter Jr. and Tanya Blount. The audience rose to their feet, with some waving small American flags and others proudly placing their right hand over their heart.
“I want to just say to every soldier, every veteran, every family member–thank you,” Trotter told the audience. “I don’t know if anybody ever told you this, but we make the country go ‘round and ‘round, baby.”