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Rockie Lynne - Tribute to the Troops 
by Helen Peterson and Leah Anderson 
CSO Staff Journalists/Photographers

This past June, at the CMA Country Music Festival, we had the opportunity to sit down with Universal South recording artist Rockie Lynne. During that interview Lynne garnered our undivided attention, and got a firm grip on our hearts, while telling us about a special endeavor that is near and dear to his own heart. Lynne is passionate about his music but he is equally passionate about his commitment to another endeavor called "Tribute to the Troops". He demonstrates his unwavering support of our military troops in a very unique way. 

Although his self titled CD spawned the hits "Lipstick" and "Do We Still" and the soon to be released song "More" will most likely also be a hit, the song Lynne is most excited about is a very special song, dedicated to our military, titled "Red, White and Blue." Lynne has performed the song numerous times at the White House and he is proud of the fact that all proceeds from the song goes to "Tribute to the Troops." This December he will perform for the soldiers in Kuwait, Afghanistan, and Iraq. But his dedication isn't limited to just entertaining the troops. The event most dear to his heart started three years ago, before any fame or major hits, when signing with a major record label was still only a dream. Lynne, along with Greg Schmitt, a music agent from the Minneapolis/St Paul, Minnesota area conceived the idea of a benefit ride honoring the soldiers and their families who paid the ultimate sacrifice, with their life. They call it Tribute to the Troops. 

This year, it was a cold, dreary weekend in September when ride participants made a three day trek to visit families of fallen heroes to let them know their losses have not gone unnoticed, spent time with active duty military personnel, and ended the day with a concert featuring local artists along with Lynne. More than 130 motorcycles converged on the final day for the Memorial Ride. Funds raised from this event go to The Wounded Warriors Hospital Fund. 

We joined the group early Sunday morning at Fort Snelling National Cemetery for the Memorial Ride. Starting the day at such a solemn, yet beautiful place, was just the beginning of what was to become a day filled with rollercoaster emotions brought on by the unselfish actions of this eclectic group of people who saw themselves as just ordinary folks; but as we watched them throughout the day, we came to know they were anything but ordinary.

We aren't sure what touched us most about this remarkable event. It could have been the sight of the seemingly endless line of motorcycles riding in, unrehearsed, yet perfect formation down the highway, total strangers from all walks of life, united by compassion and purpose. Or perhaps it was the emotion and pride that permeated the room as a group of soldiers, many in Battle Dress Uniform, joined us for lunch and the deafening applause that filled the room in honor of these men and women who serve our country and help protect our freedom. It could have been the heartbreaking announcement that yet another local heros life slipped away just that very morning, or the tears that freely flowed at the benefit concert when Lynne sang his song "More," which contains the emotional line Id give you my seat on the train to Heaven if only one of us could go.

In retrospect, at the end of the day, we only knew one thing for certain and that was that we felt blessed to have been able to observe the commitment and dedication of all who took part. We cannot recall ever being involved with a more selfless and loving group of individuals who give so much, so selflessly to pull together and participate in this event to honor the soldiers and families who have made the ultimate sacrifice for their country. We were honored to have been there.

Lynne and Schmitt are dedicated to supporting our military and we hope that our words will inspire you take a moment to remember all of who have willingly sacrificed their lives so we can live free and we would like to personally thank Rockie Lynne, Greg Schmitt and all the dedicated participants in The Tribute to the Troops for giving us the ride of a lifetime.

Please visit www.tributetothetroops.org to learn more about this incredible event and its history; who knows, you may be inspired to participate in 2007 or take part in a similar event in your area. A soldier giving his or her life to protect our freedom that should be enough to inspire anyone.


Click on the pictures below to open the larger version.     


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