Country Star Uses Music to Take Troops Back Home
By Samantha L. Quigley
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, Dec. 3, 2008 Country singer/songwriter Craig Morgan can relate to the veterans he meets when he performs, because he’s been there.
Country music star Craig Morgan performs a song he wrote to honor servicemembers April 19, 2008, on Marine Corps Base Quantico, Va. The performance was part of the Jack Daniel's-USO "Toast to the Troops" care package stuffing event. DoD photo by Samantha L. Quigley
(Click photo for screen-resolution image);high-resolution image available.
“I was in Panama in 1989 for Operation Just Cause, [and] I was assigned to the 82nd Airborne Division during Operation Desert Storm,” the former soldier said. “I experienced a lot of the same stuff that they’re going through.”
Despite that fact, though, Morgan said he’d always discounted the impact music can have when a servicemember is far from home until he performed after a Jack Daniels-sponsored care package stuffing event at Marine Corps Base Quantico, Va., and met some wounded servicemembers.
“They were talking about how my music affected them, and what it meant to them when they were going through what they were going through,” Morgan said. “After hearing so many stories, especially … [from] those guys, the men and women in the armed forces, the way that the music impacted them and made them want to keep going, I learned not to take it so lightly.”
The stories he heard from those wounded troops at Quantico inspired him. With hand-written lyrics secured to a microphone stand, Morgan performed “Let Me Take You Home” for the first time that night.
“It’s about where they’re from. Let the music take you back home. Let the music take you there,” he said. “That’s basically what it says: ‘I can’t do a lot for you, but I can sing these songs and I can take you home. So let me.’”
He later recorded an acoustic version with the intent of making it available to the troops, but ran into some obstacles, including the release of his new album.
“I didn’t want it to become part of the record,” he said. “I really wanted it to be special for them.”
With the chaos of a new album release out of the way, “Let Me Take You Home” now is available as a free download from the Army and Air Force Exchange Service Web site for a limited time. Valid military identification is required to access the song.
Those who miss the download just might catch Morgan in Iraq and Afghanistan. He’ll be touring with United Service Organizations during the holidays.
“We’re going to do that song every night, I know that,” he said. “The men and women serving overseas, especially in Iraq and Afghanistan, they ain’t got no choice. They don’t get to go home.”
Morgan said this will be his fifth trip to perform for the troops overseas.