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Country Music Duo Salutes U.S. Troops During Holiday Tour

By Gerry J. Gilmore
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Dec. 7, 2004 – Vince Gill and Amy Grant are huge country music stars who've made it a habit of saluting U.S. military members for their service.

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Country music stars Amy Grant and Vince Gill wear their "America Supports You" dog tags as they express their support for servicemembers. DoD photo

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"The holiday season is all about people celebrating family and loved ones and to be re-inspired," Grant observed during a recent interview with her husband, Gill, in Nashville. American troops and their families, she said, "need to know that we support them and that they have our love and our prayers."

Last year, the pair made it a point to recognize servicemembers during their "Simply Christmas with Amy Grant and Vince Gill" stateside holiday tour, donating tickets so servicemembers and their families could see the show.

And during Grant's rendition of the classic holiday song, "I'll Be Home for Christmas" during last year's tour, several on-stage screens flashed photos of deployed servicemembers sending holiday wishes to loved ones at home.

Grant recalled that her nephew, a midshipman at the U.S. Naval Academy, came to last year's show with his roommate. After she introduced them, the audience rose immediately to its feet and began cheering, she said.

"I just wish we could let every military person feel that kind of emotion and that sort of support," Grant noted.

Gill acknowledged "the sacrifice that our (military) men and women have made for our country," noting such selfless service enables Americans at home to live free lives.

Therefore, the country music stars "want to pitch in, in any way that we can," Gill said, to help support service members and their families.

This year's 14-city, "Simply Christmas" holiday tour runs through Dec. 19 and includes stops in Kansas, Illinois, Iowa, Wisconsin, South Carolina and Florida. It features "all-new pictures" of deployed servicemembers and their families, Grant reported.

Some of those photos, she said, depict deployed servicemembers' children saying, "I miss you, Mom and Dad," while others show military personnel sending their regards and best wishes to loved ones at home.

"It's just so beautiful," Grant said, noting that emotional support is important for anyone. "Whatever you're doing in life," she emphasized, "you need to feel supported and loved. That's what we're trying to do for our troops."

The country stars have recorded a promotional announcement for the Pentagon's "America Supports You" program, encouraging people to log onto the program's Web site. The DoD initiative recognizes efforts Americans are taking to remember servicemembers serving overseas in harm's way.

America is blessed, Gill said, because U.S. troops are "serving us so proudly" overseas in the war against global terrorism.

"God bless you, and come home soon," he said.

"We support you," Grant concluded.

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