AL ASAD, Iraq -- Since World War II, American celebrities have been raising the morale of service members overseas with different forms of entertainment ranging from concerts to stand-up shows.
In an effort to keep that tradition alive, country singer Chely Wright, visited Al Asad, Iraq, to entertain and lift the spirits of service members, March 3.
“I’m thankful and really appreciative that (the band members) and I get to fly around the world on airplanes, ride in tour buses and get on stage and do what we love to do, and people clap for us when we do our jobs,” said Wright. “People don’t often clap for you folks, so we are here to say, ‘thank you. ’”
This was Wright’s last stop on her tour, which was sponsored by Stars for Stripes, before returning to her hometown of Nashville, Tenn. Stars for Stripes is a non-profit organization dedicated to providing quality entertainment to internationally deployed U.S. military forces, according to www.starsforstripes.com.
During her overseas tour, Wright visited service members throughout Iraq, Kuwait and Germany.
Wright, who is no stranger to the military, feels that it is her duty to participate in overseas tours.
“My grandfather served in the Army during World War II, my father was in the Navy during Vietnam and my brother is currently an active duty U.S. Marine,” said Wright. “Aside from the fact that I have a military history with my family, I am just one of those Americans who is thankful for what (service members) do.”
In her visit to Al Asad, Wright performed various songs from her albums, in addition to talking to the crowd about her experiences throughout her tour.
The night was capped off with the song that made her famous with service members and their families, “Bumper of My SUV.” But before starting, Wright explained the meaning behind the song; it was written after a woman pointed to Wrights’ Marine Corps bumper sticker, which was sent by her Marine brother, and shouted, “Your war is wrong.”
“I wanted to talk to her and tell her who I am,” said Wright of her experience. “I didn’t get to talk to her so I got home and I did what any good country singer would do, I wrote a song about it.”
The song was followed by a standing ovation from the crowd.
“The song was very inspiring and it is nice to know that there is a song specifically for Marines,” said Cpl. Lacey Hines, a maintenance specialist clerk for Marine Aircraft Group 29. “It made me want to cry. It makes you really appreciate what you do and instills pride back into your soul.”
After the concert, Wright stayed to sign autographs and take photos with the service members.
“I think Chely Wright is an awesome person. Coming out here for a fourth time to play for the troops says a lot and reminds us here that some individuals that are in a celebrity status do care about what goes on over here and the troops welfare,” said Hines. “It is refreshing to know that not only our family members are looking out for us, but other individuals in society. Sometimes military members need a little pick me up and it was a great experience.”