Jack Ingram Visits Soldiers in Cuba
Jack Ingram is back from a four-day, three-show USO tour of a country few Americans get to experience. The singer and band spent time with soldiers stationed at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba, performing at several military venues, one of which was an intimate officer's club of sorts, known as the "Goat Locker." He also spent several hours signing autographs and posing for pictures, an experience which he says gave him a sense of how much the soldiers miss their homes and families, and "what they give up to serve our country, not for politics, but for the faith in what America stands for."
Ingram's first performance took place on the side of a cliff overlooking the bay, with an audience of 300, including officers and their families, and "enlisted kids who literally looked like they got on the wrong bus on their way to Freshman orientation at college," Ingram says.
On his final night, Ingram played for the general population at a community center, which he says "felt like any Friday night in Anytown, U.S.A. with a bunch of kids and people looking for an escape from their every day problems -- if every day problems mean dealing with known terrorists and prisoners who throw feces and urine at you while you are walking the block."
Ingram summed up the unforgettable experience by saying, "it's sad in a way that we live in a world like this, but it's amazing to see the young people with the courage of their convictions, who are all over world doing these jobs that make such a difference for freedom in our world. It was certainly fun to play for them - it's always fun, especially with audiences like those - but this was a special kind of honor, too."
Ingram is back in the U.S. and will play a series of shows on his home turf of Texas this weekend.