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If you were at Charlie Daniels’ 80th birthday Volunteer Jam on Nov. 30 at Bridgestone Arena in Nashville, then you experienced a lot of amazing moments from Randy Travis making a special appearance to that final true jam session that closed out the show. But if you’re like most of us, there’s another moment that had the crowd screaming at Charlie and him shouting right back. It was 17,000 voices in unison reciting the Pledge of Allegiance.

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But before that, Charlie spoke about his own experiences in watching the trials and tests this country has endured. “Ladies and gentlemen, I am 80 years old,” he said, garnering a thunderous round of applause. “I’m pretty happy about it, too, but I have lived through a lot of wars and skirmishes and, what they call, police actions in my life. I go back to the day Pearl Harbor was bombed. I am firmly convinced in my heart of hearts that only two things protect America — the grace of God and the United States military.”


He went on to say, “We have had the honor of being among our men and women in uniform in some pretty desolate parts of the world here in the last few years and I want to tell you something folks, and I mean this with every fiber of my being, ‘The ones you see in uniform are the best we’ve got.’”

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Charlie’s toast to American soldiers culminated with his musical salute, “In America,” but as he launched into the Pledge of Allegiance, the packed arena joined in and the moment will about take your breath away.

We were so proud to award Charlie with Rare Country’s very first humanitarian of the year award as part of the 2016 Rare Country Awards. He certainly makes us proud to be part of the country music community.

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