Charlie Daniels and Friends Sing for Stars for Stripes
Charlie Daniels, Chris Young and Darryl Worley helped raise money and awareness Tuesday night (Sept. 20) during Charlie’s ‘Have You Forgotten,’ event, a commemorative Stars for Stripes benefit in remembrance of Sept. 11. During the emotion-filled event, two families were honored and the singers performed for a sold-out crowd who gathered at the Palm restaurant in Nashville to honor the men and women who serve in the military.
Charlie and his wife Hazel hosted the event. “We have done this every year, and I want to express my gratitude for the people who come out to support us,” Charlie told The Boot. “I have seen the fruit of the labors [when performing for the military overseas]. I have been to some of the most desolate spots in the world to perform for our troops and I’m happy to help raise money to take entertainers to our men and women in the military.”
The singer, whose latest single is ‘Let ‘em Win or Bring ‘em Home,’ recalled an incident that touched his heart on his first trip to Baghdad during one of the Stars for Stripes tours. “I was in the tent before the concert and this guy walked in who looked like Rambo on steroids. He looked like the kind of guy you would want to stand between us and the enemy. He was just standing there looking at me, and all of a sudden he just started crying. I don’t know how long it had been since he had cried, but something touched him when he saw us getting ready to perform. I never saw him again, but I’ve never forgotten him.”
Chris has a sister who is a Marine, but the singer says he has been overseas more than she has. “About the first time I was making my first trip to perform, she was entering the Marine Corps,” he says of his sister, who is stationed at Camp Pendleton. “Now it’s me relating things I’ve seen over there, because she has never been.”
Although he had never been on the board of any organization, Chris agreed to join the board of Stars for Stripes and says it has been an incredible experience. “We had a meeting today and I was sitting there thinking how great it was to be part of an organization that has the capabilities to make a difference in someone’s life. I know when I visited the troops overseas for the first time, it changed my life.”
Recalling that first trip, Chris says they took two Wounded Warriors with them who spoke to the troops. “It was amazing to hear their stories, and see them have the same drive to go and tell those experiences to other soldiers. I became friends with them and I stay in touch with them.”
Darryl’s last trip to the Middle East was to Tikrit, where to his surprise he saw a group of men from his hometown of Savannah, Tenn. “They were in the 278 and they drove all day to get to the show, and then they had to turn around and drive 250 miles to get back to their camp,” the singer recalls. “I expressed my concern for their safety, having to travel all night, and they were like, ‘No one is going to bother us in this MRAP!’ It’s a huge military armored vehicle that was designed to survive attacks and ambushes.”
While everyone enjoyed the performances by the three entertainers, all eyes were on John and Jan Vigiano and Lt. Jason Redman, who were honored during the evening’s festivities. The Vigiano’s lost two sons in the 9/11 attack on the World Trade Center, one a firefighter for the NYFD and the other a detective for NYPD.
Redman is a former Navy Seal who was wounded while serving in Iraq. He has founded Wounded Wear, an organization that provides free clothing and clothing modifications for wounded warriors. He also uses it to help raise awareness of the sacrifices made by the men who were wounded during their military service and how it has affected them and their families.
John Vigiano said he hopes that by being a part of events such as Stars for Stripes, he can keep the memory of the events of September 11 alive in people’s minds.