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Taylor Hicks on Tour: Why Taylor Makes Us Proud

This post was kindly provided by Louise/4Tay who attended the Fort Walton show.  Photos of Taylor Hicks and videos provided by Louise/4Tay.  All other photos provided by macpolski.

Against a backdrop of the fifth anniversary of Katrina and a TV appearance by Taylor in “The Gulf is Back” on the CWT network Friday night, Taylor Hicks and his band, handpicked by sponsor Fort Walton Medical Center, found themselves as the centerpiece of the Fort Walton Armed Forces Appreciation Day at the Bull Rigdon Fairgrounds.  Despite heavy rain the day of the event, all participants joyfully went about their day to show their appreciation for the everyday heroics displayed by the many, many military personnel living and working in the Fort Walton Beach area.  This event also demonstrated the diverse cultures that make up the Fort Walton community.  It made me proud to see these cultures come together for this day of appreciation.

The Fort Walton Medical Center sponsored Taylor’s appearance and in their introduction of Taylor they spoke about why they ‘insisted’ that Taylor headline the entertainment portion of the event.  When the event was organized for 2010, the sponsors thought first of Taylor because of his tireless efforts on behalf of the Gulf Coast and his dedication to honoring American troops while on tour across the US for the past two years.  The sponsor said that they wanted no one else to conclude the Armed Forces Appreciation Day than Taylor.  This made me proud to be a fan.

The event was marked by friendly greetings by all military and auxiliary personnel from the ticket takers to the food vendors.  Military displays honoring the diversity of the region and military personnel were on hand in several buildings spread out across the fairgrounds behind the outdoor stage.  Displays of dance from the Phillipines and Latinos filled the hall where the two headliners, Kimberley Locke and Taylor Hicks would perform.  We knew the show would go on because the military wanted Taylor to join in the celebration.  This made me proud to be there to witness these events.

The US Air Force Reserve Band took the floor and offered outstanding performances of classic music from the 40’s.  Four branches of the military participated in a pizza eating contest while donations filled their respective charity’s buckets.  The winning team’s charity won the total donations.  The donations went to the Perry Jones scholarship fund.  Perry Jones is a young man who lost his life while serving in the Coast Guard.

The Coast Guard ceremony honoring Mr. Jones was filled with heartfelt testimony and song witnessed by his extended family who were on the stage.  A Tuskegee airman, Walter Richardson, a Fort Walton native, sang The Battle Hymn of the Republic while the audience and Jones’ family sang along.  The scholarship money was presented on behalf of the Coast Guard who won the pizza eating contest.  Taylor brought me to this show but this ceremony made me proud to be an American.

Kimberley Locke, a 3rd place winner on American Idol in 2002 performed a long set with her band of original and cover tunes.  Her remarkable presence and style endeared the audience to her.  I was proud of how wonderful Kim is how far she has come since realizing her American dream.

Observing the crowds throughout the long day, I noticed the military families and their friends.  They are all so young and dedicated and committed to making their world a better place.  This celebration draws thousands on a yearly basis.  The weather did not keep people home.  They came anyway and visited the vendors and their friends and a lot of them left because the outdoor activities were not held.  I was at the fairgrounds earlier in the day and the streams of people came and went.  This made me proud of the community these individuals have created and are committed to on a daily basis.  Bad weather was not going to make them miss this event.

So with a backdrop of Katrina on every TV set in the country,  especially in this Gulf Coast area, terrible weather and a worse forecast, the people still came out to honor their military men and women.  To show his appreciation for our Armed Services, Taylor Hicks bounded onto the stage with vigor and exuberance.  The band could not have picked a better day to play the best show of their tour this summer.  Just being in the vicinity of our beloved military seemed to make Taylor strive for a flow of perfection from song to song.  Interjecting his gratitude between almost every tune, Taylor thanked the military for protecting his country and making it possible for us all to live the American dream.  This made us all proud to be a Taylor Hicks fan because this is not something he just mentioned for this event.  He says it at every show without fail.

Taylor has been traveling a great deal in the last two years.  He is in a lot of airports lately.  He encourages us all to show our appreciation for the men and women who serve by overcoming our shyness, shaking hands and saying ‘thanks for your service.’  This is something he lives by and on this day of appreciation, Taylor’s performance and how he lives his life of gratitude to the freedoms we all enjoy does indeed make us proud.

When the show was over, the line of people waiting to meet Taylor was stretched from the back of the hall to the front.  Taylor took special attention with the military fans and wounded veterans.  Standing in that line behind a lot of folks and seeing Taylor interact with many new fans he made that night made us all proud to be there and honor our brave men and women because that is what Taylor has taught us to do by his example.  Nineteen makes me prouder every time.

21 Comments Post a comment
  1. tishtx #

    Very inspiring and very moving. Thank you for taking us along with you for this wonderful celebration of our brave military men and women.

    August 30, 2010
  2. As much as I love Taylor , I would have loved to have seen the military displays and shown my appreciation to those who serve our country so gallently. To those from past generations who have enabled us to prosper and to those today who continue to fight for our American ideals………my thanks.

    I am proud of Taylor, not for what he says but because I truly believe he is sincere when he says it .

    August 30, 2010
  3. carole #

    Thank you for this very touching review. Taylor does make me proud.
    Thanks for the pictures too.

    August 30, 2010
  4. Very nice recap. Thanks for sharing your experience!

    August 30, 2010
  5. Pattiebelle #

    Sounds like a very heartfelt day…and I totally understand their appreciation of Taylor and his pride in this country makes us all proud…

    August 30, 2010
  6. Louise Excellent recap of the Ft Walton show! I’m so happy you were able to be there for this wonderful day to honor the service men & women….Taylor in the video’s I’ve seen seemed to be in his element .. Thanks

    August 30, 2010
  7. This was a great event honoring our VETS. Taylor and Kimberly did a great job!!! Love ya much…Taylor!!Junebug

    August 30, 2010
  8. This was really nice. Kimberly Locke showed why we are lucky to have AMERICAN IDOL.. It has brought us Taylor Hicks..great job!!

    August 30, 2010
  9. Franky Long #

    Thank you so much for this…and as always heartfelt thanks to our military men and women.

    August 30, 2010
  10. claireb7tx #

    Thanks Louise…great recap! Proud of Taylor and to be a fan of Taylor. He is such a gentleman.

    Great event to honor the miltary and show appreciation, they are not told it enough!

    August 30, 2010
  11. Nice write up. I like that you included Taylor’s plea to thank military personnel if we happen to run into them. Reminds me of a time I saw a long line of VERY young looking soldiers waiting to board a plane. I was too shy to speak to them but I wish I had gone down the line and shaken every hand. I’ll do my best to do that next time.

    August 30, 2010
  12. Dee #

    Taylor never stops!

    August 30, 2010
  13. jerseyirish #

    Louise, What a wonderful recap, your words touched me. I am so glad you were able to be there and expience this Taylor moment and bring it back to all of us. Your pics and videos are great, thanks!!


    August 30, 2010
  14. Henry8 #

    Great recap. It was a great day.

    August 30, 2010
  15. Jemrah1 #

    Very nice!

    August 30, 2010
  16. mond105 #

    Love your recap and pictures Louise. Thank you and thanks to THN

    August 30, 2010
  17. Skeeter #

    What a wonderful post. It brings tears to my eyes…*really*. Reading this makes me feel like I was right there. Taylor has always supported the troops going back to the AI tour when he dedicated “Do I Make You Proud” to our troops every night, and I am sure it goes much further back than that.

    Thanks for bringing this here Louise and Mac. The photos and videos just bring the whole thing together, and I would have given anything to have been there to see it for myself.

    The next time you see a soldier, thank them for what they do. I try and do just that whenever I can, and the smiles on their faces will stay in your minds eye forever! You might even get a HUG..I have! 🙂

    Yes..Taylor makes me VERY proud.

    P.S. LUV the kid with red guitar..he seems to be really “concentrating” 🙂 God Bless them all!

    August 30, 2010
  18. san #

    Thanks for sharing this important day. Taylor not only sets the example for entertaining, he sets the example for appreciating people and things that matter. Yes, Taylor makes us proud. Our troops make us proud! This is one of those times when you wish you could be there for a lot of reasons.

    August 30, 2010
  19. Although “life” and an asthma bout prevented me from attending this event, I am so glad to read about this and how they “requested” him. I’m sure Taylor was honored to come and perform.

    Like the comments of the blogger, I agree that by doing things like this Taylor makes US proud-and keeps us grounded and focused on the things that matter in life.

    God Bless Taylor for his support and contributions to the cause of the Gulf Coast and the USA.

    August 31, 2010
  20. Louise #

    Thanks everyone. It was quite a day. Taylor’s performance capped off a very long day of celebration for the military personnel and their families. Despite not getting any sun in the 4 days I was there, I am so glad I was able to make this trip. Kimberley Locke was an added bonus. She is fantastic! I saw her with Dave Koz 2 years ago and she was stellar then, too. Living the American dream for Taylor and Kimberley.

    It’s been a whirlwind for Taylor and his band this past month. Time for resting up a little and then looking forward to his next phase of the Bad Ass/ Kick Ass tour!

    September 1, 2010
  21. Scott #

    Great review. Taylor and Kimberley are very talented and gave an amazing show.

    September 2, 2010

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