Marine-Turned-Country-Star Plays for Army Birthday
By Sgt. Sara Wood, USA
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, June 14, 2006 Josh Gracin, the former Marine who won fame on the TV show "American Idol," performed at the Pentagon for the Army's 231st birthday celebration today.
Servicemembers and civilians at the Pentagon enjoy concert by country music star and former Marine Josh Gracin performs at the Army's 231st birthday celebration June 14. Photo by Sgt. Sara Wood, USA
(Click photo for screen-resolution image);high-resolution image available.
Gracin was a lance corporal in the Marine Corps when he participated in the second season of "American Idol." He finished fourth place overall, and went on to land a record deal and release a debut album in 2004.
Gracin's performance today was sponsored by the United Services Organization. This was his first USO concert, but he said he hopes there will be many more in the future.
"As soon as I got out of the Marine Corps, one of the first things I said to my manager was, 'Get me involved with USO,'" Gracin said. "It's been kind of hard getting on a tour because of scheduling, but I believe this was the first step today in a long relationship with the USO."
Gracin sang many of his hit songs, as well as several popular songs by other country artists. He said he was honored to be part of the Army's birthday celebration, even though he served in the Marine Corps.
"Anytime you can take part in something as big as this and something as meaningful as this, it doesn't matter what branch of service you are," he said. "We all work together, and we all have to be one unit to get the job done."
In addition to servicemembers from all branches of the military, civilians and family members, the audience included some wounded troops from Walter Reed Army Medical Center.
Gracin thanked them for their service and sacrifices, which have contributed to keeping this country free, he said. "They're already heroes no matter what they've done," he said. "They volunteered, which is something 90 percent of this population in this country wouldn't do."