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America Supports You: Opry Invites Public to Honor Veterans

By Samantha L. Quigley
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Nov. 2008 – The Grand Ole Opry is looking for the public’s help in honoring the nation’s veterans during its live Saturday night show this week, which happens to coincide with Veterans Day.

The Opry is a member of America Supports You, a Defense Department program highlighting ways Americans and the corporate sector support the nation’s military

“The Opry has great attendance and a great allegiance from veterans, so it’s the Opry giving back to those folks who certainly have given to the Opry, given to America,” Rogers said. “The Opry is the embodiment of America’s music, and obviously our U.S. veterans have paid the price to keep America here and free.”

To show its gratitude, the Opry is giving listeners and viewers a chance to tell why a veteran is special to them, Rogers said. Those dedications, which should include the veteran’s name and why the writer wants them to be recognized, will be read during the live show between songs and commercial breaks.

“We were going to do some things to honor the veterans and that was just one of the components that we came up with that involved veterans and the show,” Rogers said.

The show will open with a military color guard, and Mandy Barnett, a frequent Opry guest, will sing the national anthem.

Darryl Worley, who has a new single out called, “Just Came Back From A War,” will perform during the show. Perhaps best known for his smash hit “Have You Forgotten?” Worley has performed for the troops in Iraq as well as at the Pentagon, Rogers said. The host of the Opry’s TV program, John Conlee, has a personal reason to offer his gratitude this Veterans Day -- his son is an active duty servicemember.

“Throughout the night, different artists will (honor) veterans in words and song,” Rogers said. “Not every single artist, but different artists throughout the night will recognize the veterans in attendance at the show, those tuned in on the TV, radio and Internet.”

To submit a dedication to be read during the Nov. 11 show, e-mail a message that includes the writer’s name, city and state, as well as the veteran’s name to

Related Sites:
The Grand Ole Opry
America Supports You

America Supports You: Brewery Offers Theme Park Admission

By Sgt. 1st Class Doug Sample, USA
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Feb.  2005 -- Dan Hartman's "Free Ride" could be the theme song to the Anheuser-Busch Company's latest offer to the military.

This month, the brewery announced that once again it will open the gates to its SeaWorld, Busch Gardens and Sesame Place theme parks for free as a way of saying thanks to servicemembers and their families.

The company's latest promotion, dubbed "Here's to the Heroes," offers a free single-day admission to servicemembers, including Guardsmen and Reservists, and as many as three "direct dependents," according to Fred Jacobs, senior director for communications at Busch Entertainment Corp.

The offer runs through Dec. 31.

The company has held four similar free-admission programs since the first Gulf War: Yellow Ribbon Summer, Salute to America's Heroes, Operation Salute, and last year's Operation Homecoming.

Jacobs said, "These programs were conceived to acknowledge the men and women who serve our country and preserve freedom and security for every American."

"We benefit only from the sense of satisfaction that our employees across the country get from saying, "Thank you" to our soldiers, sailors, Marines, airmen and Coast Guardsmen."

Jacobs said the company decided on the name "Here's to the Heroes" because, "That is exactly how we view those Americans who have chosen to serve in the armed forces."

Eligible servicemembers can register for free admission online or in the entrance plaza of participating parks, Jacobs said. A Department of Defense photo ID must be presented at the gate before entrance, he added.

Military family members also can take advantage of the offer without their military sponsor; however, an adult must accompany minor children.

Jacobs said the company estimates that more than 1 million servicemembers and their families will visit its parks during the offer, and that nearly 100,000 people have registered already.

The Busch Gardens theme park in Williamsburg, Va.; SeaWorld in San Antonio; and Sesame Place in Langhorne, Pa.; are seasonal operations that open in the spring. The company's SeaWorld Orlando and Busch Gardens Tampa Bay, both in Florida, and SeaWorld San Diego, are open year-round.

The company has received "thousands of e-mails, phone calls and letters thanking us for recognizing the service and sacrifice of our armed forces," Jacobs said.

"I have had the privilege of responding to many of those notes, and I can tell you from personal experience how gratifying it is," he added.

Anheuser-Busch has a long tradition of supporting the military. In 1921, Lilly Busch, the widow of company founder Adolphus Busch, opened the Busch family garden to the public, donating admission fees to disabled veterans. And over the years the company has supported veterans memorials in Washington, such as the Korean War Veterans Memorial and the Vietnam Veterans Memorial. The company has also provided scholarship funds for United Service Organizations members and Desert Storm survivors.

In 2003, the company created the Intrepid/Anheuser-Busch Fallen Heroes Fund, donating $1 million in scholarships for spouses and children of servicemembers and coalition personnel killed during the war in Iraq. is Expanding!

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