'Old recruit' pays tribute to military through music

13 Dec 2002 | GySgt. Tim McGough

Some say music is the sound track of our life.  You could even say it has a healing power.  One man in New York City believes that with every breath he takes and every note he plays.

Todd Shea, a 36-year old native of Laurel, Md., came to New York to play his music.  After September 11th his music became more important as did his life.  Shea just released a CD entitled "Songs Carried On Angel Wings".  Why does this matter?  What does this have to do with the military...or the Marine Corps?  If you look back to Shea's past it has a lot to do with what he learned while he was at Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island, S.C.

In 1985 this singer/songwriter was on his way to becoming a Marine.   When he was a recruit he was discharged from boot camp for some mistakes of his youth.  But he has used what he learned from his drill instructors throughout his life.

"Although I didn't finish boot camp I credit the Marine Corps a lot," Shea said.  "The Corps taught me discipline and it got my life together.  I feel that I owe the Marine Corps something.  They taught me to step up."

And step up is what Shea did with his album.  He is particularly proud of one song, it was inspired by the death of a service member.  "I was watching the news and I saw the piece about a Navy Seal that was killed in Afghanistan," he said.  "It inspired me.  It got me thinking about all the young American kids that one-day will grow up and volunteer to serve their country in the future to keep us free."

So he wrote the song "The Other Side Of The Sun".  "The song talks about life's cycle and peace," explained Shea.  "Although it is a song of peace it also honors those who've paid the ultimate price.  I want people who hear this song think of the men and women who serve and served their country and that the Marines -- well the military is the biggest promoters of peace throughout the world."

Shea also said if it wasn't for service member's self-sacrifice Americans wouldn't be able to say the things they feel.

Besides the military, Shea was also addressing those who paid the ultimate price during the terrorist attacks and in all conflicts past and present.  He was in New York on September 11th and he did like any other good human being would after the attacks, he pitched in.  Shea delivered food, comfort items and medical supplies to rescue workers at Ground Zero.

Some of the songs on his new CD were inspired by his experience at Ground Zero.  "I wrote with my friend Dan Panitz," Said Shea.  "Dan is a hero in his own right and a good song writer."

Shea performed at Marine Day in Central Park during Fleet Week 2002.  He performed at the National Monument's Amphitheater at Mount Rushmore, S.D., during his 2002 summer tour with the Marines and one of the Ground Zero Flags.

Shea also does various charity works, including a 9/11 Children's Fund and he helps troubled youth programs.  He said, he was a mixed up kid and those months at Parris Island helped straighten him out.  So he feels he is sort of paying back a debt.  If music and patriotism can be used to pay a debt then Todd Shea is paid in full.

You can listen to cuts from Shea's new CD or check out his discography at

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