News: 'An honor to perform' at JBLM
Story by Sgt. Jacqueline Fennell
JOINT BASE LEWIS-MCCHORD, Wash. – The passion of listening to one of the world’s leading international pop-music artist perform live on stage seemed to ignite the excitement of military service members and their families who attended Pitbull’s free concert May 3 at Memorial Stadium.
The Miami Dolphin cheerleaders opened the show and pumped up the crowd while fans stood on muddy ground waiting relentlessly in the cold rain for the chance to feel the experience of his performance.
The crowd screamed when they first saw him walk center stage and gratefully welcomed an entertainer’s way of saying thank you in return for the sacrifices they make each day for service to our country.
“What’s most important about this, is being able to give back to those who give us the opportunity to even go out there and be performers and be a part of this beautiful country,” said Pitbull about his motivation for performing for the troops.
As a first generation Cuban-American, coming from a family that worked so hard to get to the United States, he said, “It means the world to me, so thank you and it’s always an honor to perform for you guys.”
Pitbull’s music blasted from the speakers adding to the momentum, setting the tone for the crowd to engage the positive energy, something that was well deserved and earned by the duty, to our nation, JBLM service members fulfill every day.
“It’s nice to know that people we look up to, show how much they care about us,” said Sgt. Jason Hackler, a Wounded Warrior assigned to B Company, Warrior Transition Battalion.
Hackler said he has sacrificed birthdays, funerals, weddings and holidays in the last 16 years during his Army career and was grateful to see him in person prior to the show at a meet-and-greet opportunity Pitbull had with a few wounded warriors.
The process to have him perform for the troops began in May 2011 when the JBLM Exchange General Manager, Patrick P. Mcghee met with one of the sponsors at a conference in Cincinatti, Ohio.
Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation, the Exchange and other sponsors collaborated with Pitbull to make the concert possible.
"Pitbull is the definition of a class act and walks the talk when it comes to supporting troops and their families,” said Mcghee.
Military-life and pop-culture may have more in common than some might think.
Music entertainers and service members both spend a large amount of time away from their families, provide a service that has an impact on the masses and are in the public eye, but most importantly both have a way of uniting people for a common goal like freedom.
“It’s the end all be all of human rights, of being able to become anything you want, of controlling your destiny and you are looking at the prime example of the American Dream,” said Pitbull about why he is proud to be an American and having the opportunity to perform for the troops at JBLM.