Country Stars React to the Death of Osama Bin Laden
Even before President Obama made the official announcement that a Navy SEAL team of military operatives killed al Qaeda leader and the mastermind behind the 9/11 terrorist attacks, Osama bin Laden, on Sunday (May 1), Twitter was ablaze with comments from around the world and continued well into Monday. Country stars, many of whom have either served in the military or entertained the troops on USO and Stars for Stripes tours, were leading the charge with thanks and praise for those wearing a military uniform. Country radio has also been paying tribute to the soldiers and those in the military by playing meaningful songs, including Lee Greenwood's 'God Bless the U.S.A.,' Alan Jackson's 'Where Were You (When the World Stopped Turning),' Darryl Worley's 'Have You Forgotten?,' James Otto's 'Soldiers and Jesus' and of course, numerous Toby Keith songs.
Toby, whose songs such as 'Courtesy of the Red, White and Blue' and 'American Soldier' have given hope and comfort to U.S. military personnel, is wrapping up his ninth consecutive tour of the Persian Gulf. After learning the news, the singer-songwriter took to his Facebook page to share his thoughts: "It's a great day to be an American. I been tellin' ya for a decade that the US military would hunt down and kill world enemy #1! While traveling abroad, I am blown away by the positive coverage by the world media. There IS a consensus in the world media I have never seen before. Thanks to our commander-in-chief for having the cajones to finish this job, but the mission is far from over."
"I think I speak for Eddie [Montgomery] as well as myself to say that we are beyond proud of the people that made this happen," Montgomery Gentry's Troy Gentry wrote on the duo's Facebook page. "Our country needed this after all of the sacrifices made by our military, members of fire and rescue, and families of those who lost loved ones on 9/11 and since 9/11."
A Navy veteran himself, James Otto just returned from a USO tour a few weeks ago. "I just think it's incredible news. I think it's something we've wanted for more than 10 years now," he tells The Boot exclusively. "Before 9/11, he was one of the most wanted [terrorists]. My first thoughts were of how proud I am of our military. They got the job done, and especially being a Navy boy, that it was the Navy SEALs that went in there and took care of business.
"It's a huge boost for morale. Those guys and gals are over there busting their butts and have been for years, and they're away from their families," James continues. "And to be able to say at the end of the day, 'we did the job that we went there to do,' that's a great feeling. All those men and women over there that we saw when we were on our USO trip a couple of weeks ago, I know that they're all stoked and they feel the same sense of pride that I do ... This is a moment that America has waited for, that we needed, that we deserved, and to see it happen lifts a lot of spirits. It's going to help us battle what's to come."
James says the morale was somewhat low among the troops during his recent USO trek. "They were getting ready to leave the country at the end of the year, and so there was a lot of wondering if they were leaving the job unfinished," notes the singer-songwriter. "And now I know that they feel excited. But I could tell the morale was not as high as you would want it to be. They've been over there a long time, and I think there was a sense of leaving things undone."
Craig Morgan served 11 years active service in the U.S. Army and several years as a reservist. During his years of service, he joined the airborne division, became a rappel master and paratrooper and helped train elite combat units. He participated in Operation Just Cause, the U.S. military operation that removed Panama's Manuel Noriega from power. As a country artist, he has also been on numerous trips overseas to entertain the troops, and he feels Sunday night's news was a huge victory against terrorism. "It is a great day ... the end of a terrorist whose actions have taken so many lives," said Craig following the news of Osama bin Laden's death. "However, we must not waver on the war against terror and those who support it."
Kellie Pickler has been on a handful of USO Tours over the past few years, having recently returned from her third trip, along with her husband Kyle Jacobs, but there is nothing like the first time. "It was the most incredible thing I've ever done in my life," Kellie explains. "It was so life-changing. I learned so much, and I have such a better understanding of what's going on in the world. It was just so amazing to be able to take a little piece of home to the men and women that are serving our country."
"I was watching 'Celebrity Apprentice,' and the greatest news interrupted it, which was the most murdering b-----d in the history of the world, for our generation anyway, is gone and in Hell where he belongs," John Rich told Chicago radio station, US99 Country (WUSN) on Monday. "At the end of the day, I would like to say to our veterans out there, 'Thank you for all of your service ... We got this guy! I know the country feels thankful to you and beholden to you for doing your job.'"
Laura Bell Bundy was in Washington, D.C., over the weekend to participate in the Avon Walk for Breast Cancer. After she crossed the finish line, she went back to her hotel. When the news broke, she got out of bed and rushed to where a joyous crowd was gathered in front of the White House to take photos and shoot video of the event that has changed history, despite having an early flight to L.A. on Monday morning (May 2). "It's been a completely life-altering weekend," she says. "[Walking] 32 miles and being at the White house last night."
The following are from artists' individual Twitter accounts:
Darryl Worley (@DarrylWorley): "I revel in the fact that the murdering b----d will burn in hell for an eternity. Hail to the families who have sacrificed loved ones ... God bless the US military. This could inspire the nation to turn things around and get back on track. I hope I get to shake the hands of the troops that took him out. These are America's finest and they never get recognized for what they do ... Don't mess with the USA! We will hunt you down and kill your sorry ass. I'm gonna have a drink."
Brad Paisley (@BradPaisley): "Just when I was thinking there's just no good TV on Sundays with no @NASCAR race, thank you Navy Seals!! Amen to giving our military heroes props tomorrow. And putting the flag out & waving it with gratitude ... I really love these rare moments when we feel like one united country ... If you see someone in a military uniform tomorrow, for heaven's sake give them a hug. Or a drink. Or a new car."
Blake Shelton: "Ok ... I'm starting to feel guilty about all those things I tweeted last night about Bin Laden ... JUST KIDDING! Burn Baby Burn Disco Inferno!!"
Adam Levine: (@AdamLevine): "I feel a sense of RELIEF as opposed to a sense of JOY ... I dont know how I feel about "celebrating" death. But I'm just glad this happened during a good man's presidency."
David Nail (@DavidNail): "You think the guy who pulled the trigger gets a key to every city? I sure can't wait for the movie ... An American soldier is a special breed of human. Twitterland is beautiful in red white and blue!"
James Otto (@JamesOtto): "This would never have happened without the sacrifice of all our men & woman! God Only Knows Where We'd Be Without Soldiers & Jesus!"
Billy Currington (@billycurrington): "Today no doubt is a great day. so much gratitude for our military. bad a$$ mf's. another dream came true."