America Supports You: Spirit of America Tour Brings Entertainment to Troops
By Samantha L. Quigley
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, April 2, 2007 The Spirit of America Tour has provided more than 80 opportunities for entertainers to express their appreciation for America’s military since Sept. 11, 2001.
The Spirit of America Tour is a member of America Supports You, a Defense Department program highlighting the ways Americans and the corporate sector support the military.
“In general, we’re showing that the entertainment industry does support the troops, not by lip service but by actually doing something,” Robert M. Rosenthal, the group’s founder, said. “The truth is, we have a fabulous volunteer (military) that has joined … because there is an innate sense of ‘America’ in these people.”
The group, founded five and a half years ago, averages 15 shows a year at military facilities across the country. The shows are open to anyone holding a DoD identification card and their guests, he said.
Already this year the Glenn Miller Orchestra has performed two shows at Texas bases. Country singer Todd Fritsch and Lantana, an all-woman country group, performed for the troops at Holloman Air Force Base, N.M. Other entertainers booked to perform through The Spirit of America Tour include Charlie Daniels and Aaron Tippin.
“We work on availability and routing, gaps in schedules,” Rosenthal said. “That’s why we’ve been so successful.”
He said he started the organization to honor those serving in the military.
“I’m a firm believer in the fact that the reason we are the greatest country in the world is because we have standing armed forces that are prepared to defend us from the bad guys,” Rosenthal said. “That’s something called patriotism.”
As a show of his patriotism, not only does Rosenthal work the logistics of getting the performers to appear on military facilities, he covers the expenses, he said. The facility is asked to provide only the stage.
The responses from those who attend the performances are always positive, Rosenthal said.
“I get hundreds of e-mails and letters … thanking me and telling me how much they enjoyed it and how important it was,” he said.
The Spirit of America Tour is anticipating its 100th show next year. This year, Rosenthal anticipates adding children’s shows to his roster. The first is expected to take place in New London, Conn.