From Soldier to Songwriter: Country Music Icon Craig Morgan Says Thanks
Advocacy Country music superstar Craig Morgan knows what it means to serve. He also knows how meaningful it is for him and others to thank soldiers and veterans with their words and actions.
The “International Harvester” singer’s resume reads like the Renaissance man he is: soldier, EMT, sheriff’s deputy, TV host, motocross racer, outdoorsman, farmer and family man. But, it’s his award-winning music career that ties it all together and allows him to thank the troops. “For them, I’m grateful,” Morgan states with the sincerity he wears on his sleeve and onstage.
Morgan spent 10 years on active duty in the Army, serving in the 101st and 82nd Airborne Divisions, before launching his music career. He continued to serve his country for another nine years in the Army Reserves. These experiences are what drove him to support the troops in every way possible.
“Music is like a center for all things,” says the singer who burst on to the scene with “Almost Home” in 2002. “My music career allows me to be a part of all of those other energies in my life.” He’s certainly used his energetic music for thanking the troops and encouraging his fans to do so as well.
What matters most
With a dozen trips to entertain the troops in Afghanistan and Iraq, plus many other concerts and events for soldiers elsewhere, Morgan has become a military favorite. After one show in Iraq near a mountain where a friend of his had died in a helicopter crash, Morgan learned the friend had played his songs before and after every mission. “I had to compose myself before heading back on stage for an encore,” Morgan recalls.
“Music is like a center for all things. My music career allows me to be a part of all of those other energies in my life.”
There are many others ways Morgan has said his thanks and gotten others involved in thanking and supporting troops, including participating in all 20 of Jack Daniel’s “Toast To The Troops” events and writing and donating a song called “What Matters Most,” with proceeds benefiting Folds of Honor Foundation to the tune of 2,000-plus education scholarships.
For this work and much more, Morgan was awarded the U.S.O. Merit Award in 2006. He became a member of the hallowed Grand Ole Opry in 2008 after being invited to join during an appearance at Fort Bragg—where he’d been stationed during active duty.
Another area of Morgan’s involvement with the troops has included inviting warriors on “Craig Morgan: All Access Outdoors,” now in its fifth season on the Outdoor Channel. His likeness is also on more than 250,000 Chocolate Double-Decker MoonPie boxes on grocery stores across the nation. The boxes also detail his long-standing commitment to the nation’s troops, along with a website where fans can send a free “thank you” MoonPie to soldiers.
When asked about his favorite song to play for troops, he says, “It really depends on the people, the mood, and the location. Right now, it has to be “If Not Me.” It always brings the house down with the military.” That’s when the troops can show their thanks for Craig Morgan’s continued service. And it’s how Morgan and many more say thanks right back at them.