Charlie Daniels has always been passionate about patriotism, and supporting those serving in the military, and veterans who try to acclimate to civilian life after returning from deployment. The cause is personal for Daniels, who has spent his entire life devoted to supporting the troops.
"I am a child of the Second World War," Daniels told PopCulture.com. "I was born in Wilmington, North Carolina. It's a sea coast town. And I very well remember Pearl Harbor day, when Pearl Harbor was bombed. I remember D-Day. I grew up during that war. My formative years were during the Second World War. We lived it, and we didn't have television then. It was radio and newsreels and newspapers and that sort of thing, but we literally lived it. And living on the sea coast during the Second World War, we had oil tankers that were sunk just off our coast, I've heard it said, so close you could see the fires of battles from our beaches some times.
"The war is very real to us," continued the 82-year-old. "We didn't have satellites and we didn't have the satellite technology, the kind of reconnaissance to tell you where everybody was all the time and everything. We never knew [if] the Nazis might just pull a submarine up and land a bunch of troops on. We never knew, so we were very vigilant, but we always knew that the military was out there."
Daniels still works hard to support the military wherever he goes, including during his live shows.
"I say this on stage every night: only two things protect America," said "The Devil Went Down to Georgia" singer. "It's the grace of God and the United States military. We always knew they were there and we lived it, day in and day out. Everybody had a father, a brother, a sister, a cousin, a friend, or somebody in the military. So many people got killed and wounded and that sort of thing and we lived it; we lived that whole war very much, up close and personal, not in the battle zones. but the results of what were going on, was very serious to us.
"And I have always felt beholden to people who put their lives between my family and the danger, and that's our military folks," he added. "I don't feel we could ever do too much for them."
Daniels just held his second Veteran Impact Celebration, raising more than $150,000 for MTSU's (Middle Tennessee State University) Charlie and Hazel Daniels Veterans and Military Family Center.
Photo Credit: Getty images / Scott Legato