Wednesday, April 9, 2014

ACM Presents An All Star Salute To The Troops!...May 20

"Sometimes you need to put everything else aside to support
 and honor our nation's military."  - Toby Keith

The Academy of Country Music did just that with the "ACM Presents: An All Star Salute To The Troops." The show was taped Monday night with a live audience at the MGM Grand Garden Arena with hosts LL Cool J and Chris O'Donnell, and will air on CBS on May 20th.

Airs May 20,

It was great to be a part of the production as a rehearsal actress. Though it is always a pleasure to work on these concert events, it was especially true for this one. One of the best surprises of this show is that almost all of the country music superstars are performing with a talented member of the military!

Army Sgt. Christiana Ball, myself and Air Force Staff Sgt. Bailey Zimmerman
Whether it was Lee Brice accompanied by Army Sgt. Christiana Ball on I Drive Your Truck, Rascal Flatts & Marine Corps. SSGT Brandon Valentine on Rewind, Keith Urban and Navy STGC Destiny Coates performing, For You, or any of the other powerful and poignant performances, adding this element to the tribute was meaningful and exciting!

Of all the genre of musical performers I work with it has always been the country music artists who seem the most grounded. For one thing, they never just "phone it in." This was evident more than usual in this case. The passion, honor and respect shown by the likes of Tim McGraw, Toby Keith, Luke Bryan, The Band Perry, Dierks Bentley, Hunter Hayes, and others moved the crowd, (including myself) to tears many times during the taping that night.

Carrie Underwood made the event extra special and personal by co-writing and performing a special song just for the occasion called Keep Us Safe...which can be downloaded soon. (#KeepUsSafe).

More important than our emotional indulgences, (anyone can cry), it reminded many us of the commitment and sacrifice made every day by these fine people. If this invokes action on the part of viewers of this special tribute in the way of volunteerism, donations to various veterans programs, and compassion for our active and retired military, among other things, then the show has truly done its job!
Kellie Pickler & Air Force Staff Sgt. Bailey Zimmerman perform...Photo,

To cap off an amazing night Toby Keith was surprised with a "Spirit of the USO" award. Not many people know this, (I didn't), but since 2002 Toby Keith has toured on behalf of the USO performing over 300 shows on 11 USO tours in 15 countries! Even in extremely remote regions, he has managed to show up.

Toby Keith was surprised with the "Spirit of the USO" Award...Photo from

Toby Keith USO Tour, Iraq 2011...Photo

Set your DVR's for May 20, (CBS) and be motivated by the strength, courage and perseverance of the individuals that make up our country's Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard and Reserves!

Interested in volunteering for our veterans?

Ever thought of enlisting?

This blog article is dedicated to two of my family members...Justin Hattesohl, Decorated Afghanistan Veteran and Purple Heart Recipient, National Guard 849th, (2014), and Sara Wendt, Iraq Veteran (2007-2008) Staff Sgt. 934th Aeromedical Evacuation Squadron.
Also, a special salute to other family veterans, Navy; Ernest Duane Wendt,  Gary Wendt, Ralph Nelles and Bill Nelles. Army; Barry Wendt, Robert Lumpkins and Air Force; Cory Schneider. Thanks to all of you for being a positive representative of our family and a role model to the next generation by way of your military service.


  1. Oh Anna that was so special. Again thanks for dragging me along. I so enjoyed it.
    Love you...Auntie E

  2. Thanks for your fine blog, for your support of the Troops and for including my darling daughter, Ms B along with the delightful Ms Z in your pic!