Country music artists honor veterans during performance

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KKREBS@NEWS-PRESS.COM

Country music and patriotism go hand in hand, so a song dedicated to “our troops” or veterans isn’t something too out of the ordinary.

But when Kurt Schaaf, an Air Force veteran, showed up to Florida Tracks and Trails for the Country Life Music Festival on Saturday afternoon, he expected to enjoy the sun, some good music and good company.

He wasn’t expecting to be on stage later that night.

“I was flabbergasted,” Schaaf said, sporting an Air Force veterans cap, polo and a grin. “One of the crew members spotted my hat in the crowd before the show and asked me if I would go up during the song.”

A few songs into their set, country music duo Big & Rich dedicated their song “Eighth of November” to all the veterans in the crowd.

“We like to do this at our shows and take a shot of Crown Royal with one of our vets,” said Big & Rich half John Rich as he brought Schaaf on stage and handed him a red cup with his shot. “Thank you for putting yourselves on the line for us.”

“That’s was awesome,” laughed Schaaf, who served as a crew chief on C130 airplanes at Pope Air Force Base in North Carolina, “I love that song, it was real cool to go up there.”