November 11th, which is also known as Veterans Day, honors our military vets who served, and many times, sacrificed their lives, to safeguard our freedom and democracy. At 11 a.m. on November 11th, 1918 — “the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month” — a cease-fire came into effect that would end World War I. The day was first proclaimed in 1919 by President Woodrow Wilson to celebrate the ending of World War I. It was later renamed Veterans Day by President Eisenhower in 1954 to celebrate all veterans. Dierks Bentley has partnered with the Wounded Warrior Project and their initiative, Believe in Heroes, to recognize the enormous sacrifices made by our newest generation of veterans and to honor the service of these individuals over a two-month campaign leading up to Veterans Day. The Believe in Heroes campaign provides the American public with an opportunity to show their support and appreciation of our veterans in their communities and across the nation. The mission of the Wounded Warrior Project is to honor and empower wounded warriors…AND to raise awareness and enlist the public’s aid for the needs of injured service members, to help them aid and assist each other, and to provide unique, direct programs and services to meet their needs.
Dierks’ own father is a Veteran, having served as a second lieutenant in the Army during World War II. “It’s amazing, he served in WW2, he was in Japan, and he doesn’t tell me too many stories about it, but I know for him, he really enjoyed his time in the Army,” says Dierks. “It was a chance, he grew up in a town of 1200 people and…to join the army and get a chance to go overseas and see some of the world. He really enjoyed the men in his company and lost some friends over there. He doesn’t talk too much about that aspect of it, but he has nothing but good memories of being able to serve and be part of that.”
Eric Church recently finished up a tour with Toby Keith, who always brought up soldiers during such songs as “Courtesy of the Red, White & Blue” and “American Soldier.” He feels the country music format is the leader in making the military a priority. “I’m proud for our format, and I’m proud for the music that that’s something we stand by when I’m not sure others do as much. I mean, not that they’re not patriotic. I just think that that’s something we make a focal point, and I’m proud to be involved in.”
AUDIO: Dierks Bentley talks about his father, who served in the Army during World War II.
Dierks (dad in WW2) OC: …honor them. :54
“My dad was a second lieutenant in the Army. My dad’s older than most dads. My dad had me when he was 51, or helped have me when he was 51. It’s amazing, he served in WW2, he was in Japan, and he doesn’t tell me too many stories about it, but I know for him, he really enjoyed his time in the Army. It was a chance, he grew up in a town of 1200 people and the Army was, you know to join the army and get a chance to go overseas and see some of the world. He really enjoyed the men in his company and lost some friends over there. He doesn’t talk too much about that aspect of it, but he has nothing but good memories of being able to serve and be part of that. What a feeling that must be that I will never know, to put on that uniform, American flag patch on your shoulder, and you’re out there literally fighting for the flag, fighting with your brothers next to you and for everyone back home. So it’s just something that we can never really honestly have a sense of how that feels, but certainly we can honor them.”
AUDIO: Dierks Bentley talks about Veterans Day.
Dierks Bentley (Veterans Day) OC: …need us. :13
“I think Veterans Day is something that happens once a year, but I think in the country community, it really is something that we are and need to be thinking about 365 days a year because those folks need us.”
AUDIO: Eric Church sends out a message to members of the military – past and present – for Veterans Day.
Eric Church (Veterans Day Msg.) OC: …Veterans Day. :17
“Hey Guys! I’m Eric Church. Happy Veterans Day! I appreciate so, so, so very much the sacrifice you guys give and go through for us to live the way we do. And I wouldn’t want anybody else on the front lines but you guys. I feel safe at night knowing that you’re there, and I appreciate you very much. I can’t thank you enough. Happy Veterans Day!”
AUDIO: Eric Church talks about the servicemen and women and how country music makes them a priority.
Eric Church (Veterans Day) OC: …always will be. :50
“What I respect and admire is the sacrifice those guys and girls go through for us to live the way they want to live too. I’ve been out with Toby [Keith], and it’s been really great to be out with him and to see all these soldiers. You know, he brings them on stage during ‘Courtesy of the Red, White and Blue’…and ‘American Soldier,’ you know, they honor ‘em and he encourages ‘em to wear their uniforms. I love that that’s something our format embraces. I’m proud for our format, and I’m proud for the music that that’s something we stand by when I’m not sure others do as much. I mean, not that they’re not patriotic. I just think that that’s something we make a focal point, and I’m proud to be involved in. And again, I’m very thankful for the sacrifice that those guys endure, and it’s something that’s always been very important to me and always will be.”