AMERICAN SPIRIT

Travis Tritt, Jo Dee Messina, Charlie Daniels and other stars take the stage to cheer U.S. troops

Jo Dee Messina wowed 7,000 soldiers at Missouri's Ft. Leonard Wood Army Base ? Marty Stuart brought his brand of traditional country to the Marines at Camp Lejeune, N.C. ? and Charlie Daniels fired up his fiddle at the Great Lakes Naval Station in Illinois.

These stars and others performed for the Spirit of America tour, an event spearheaded by California attorney and philanthropist Robert Rosenthal that brings entertainment to military bases in the U.S.

Marty Stuart got the ball rolling with a concert at Camp Lejeune Marine Corps Air Station shortly after the 9/11 attacks in 2001. Since then, Marty's pal Travis Tritt, Jo Dee, Tammy Cochran and Lee Greenwood all stepped up to the plate.

Tammy sees the tour as a way of giving back to the soldiers. "As an entertainer, it is the only way I know to show my appreciation for these brave Americans," reveals the "Angels in Waiting" singer. "It's not rocket science [to] take their minds off their worries a little bit and show them a good time."

For the stars, it's a memorable and meaningful time. "Performing for the folks at Ft. Leonard Wood was an amazing experience," raves Jo Dee.

"The Spirit of America has given me the opportunity to meet some truly heroic people," adds Travis. "Playing these shows has been a great honor for me."

Says Charlie, who's headlined three Spirit of America shows, "It's gratifying to see someone like Mr. Rosenthal think of our servicemen and women in uniform."

-- Bob Paxman

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