Through his music and his activism, Trace Adkins has advocated for veterans throughout his career. We talked with the country music icon about what motivated him to support this community and what these interactions have meant to him.
Why is supporting our military so crucial? What does this support look like?
My support has always been unconditional. I’m all in and always have been. It’s very important to me to continually let them know that we appreciate and respect them for what they do.
What do you think the veteran community needs that it is currently lacking?
They deserve topnotch, world-class healthcare on-demand, and they need to be financially compensated for the sacrifices they’ve made. We owe them that. There should never be a veteran in this country who wants for anything. Those needs should always be met.
When did you first become involved with the veteran community? What motivated you to do it and how has it affected your life?
I had been working with the USO when the Wounded Warrior Project reached out to me in 2010 to get involved, and I said, “Absolutely.” It’s difficult to put into words what it has meant to me and the honor it has been to associate with those folks over the years. I’m a better man for it.
What are some of the most meaningful interactions you have had?
We were in Afghanistan doing a show and this guy came up to get an autograph. He held his arms out with his forearms up, and he had “Came here to live, didn’t come here to die” tattooed on his arms — lyrics from one of my songs. It just destroyed me in that moment because he was so proud, and I’ll never forget that. It stands out as one of the heaviest things that ever happened to me.