‘Concert for Valor’ celebrates Veterans Day


Julia McDermott

Thousands of fans and turned out to see their favorite musicians perform at the concert.

By Julia McDermott, Sports Editor

One by one, Rihanna fans intermingled with Metallica groupies and mixed in with veterans in uniform as they filed through security and onto the National Mall Tuesday night, making up the massive crowd that attended the Concert for Valor in celebration of Veterans Day.

Free tickets, combined with a patriotic cause and a set list packed with big names made for a crowd reaching into the hundreds of thousands, packing the Mall from the stage near the capitol building all the way down to the Washington Monument.

The event was put on by HBO, Starbucks and Chase Corporation, with HBO streaming the concert live and making it available both online and on TV to nonsubscribers.

In honor of all of America’s veterans as well as current members of the armed service, a-list celebs and popular musicians joined together to pay tribute to our military.  

Public figures like Oprah, Meryl Streep, Jamie Fox, Jack Black and even the President and the First Lady themselves gave heart warming salutes in a mix of prerecorded film segments and live speeches, all with an emphasis on honoring those who have served and donating to veteran and military charities.  

The film segments shared the accounts of several extraordinary veterans who have gone above and beyond expectations to serve their country. Their touching stories were effective in reminding everyone in the audience of all the things for which they can be grateful to our military. The presence of retired and active military personnel of all branches made it clear that this was no ordinary concert, but rather a true celebration of all of those who have served.  

Intermixed with the films and speeches were musical performances from artists including Jennifer Hudson, Jessie J, Dave Grohl, Carrie Underwood, the Zach Brown Band, Bruce Springsteen, Metallica, Rhianna, Eminem and the Black Keys. 

Hudson began the night with a soulful delivery of the national anthem, kick starting a chain of performances with about three songs from each artist.

Bruce Springsteen, Dave Grohl and the Zach Brown Band played a hearty trio to the Vietnam-era anthem “Fortunate Son”, Rihanna and Eminem got the crowd on their feet dancing, Metallica rocked out, Carrie Underwood belted songs with an army choir behind her and Grohl and Springsteen each returned separately with acoustic performances to honor our veterans.

No matter which artist was playing, each paid homage through songs carefully selected to emphasize the praise and gratitude expressed toward veterans and all members of the military, creating a diverse tribute spanning a variety of genres.

The wholehearted speeches, combined with the stories of inspiring veterans and a series of energizing performances, turned the concert into one wonderful ‘thank you’ to all the citizens who have served in the military, reminding the American public that Veterans Day is much more than just another sale at the mall.