TUSCUMBIA — A Veterans Day concert featuring country star Darryl Worley and Shoals singer/songwriter Billy Lawson will raise money to send local military veterans and a companion to Washington D.C. to visit monuments erected in their honor.
The trips will be administered by the Honor Flight Network, an organization dedicated to flying U.S. military veterans to Washington D.C. to visit the monuments, and while it's free to veterans, it can cost their "guardian" as much as $500 to accompany them, depending on the length of the visit.
Tuscumbia Mayor Kerry Underwood said he was so moved after speaking with several World War II veterans about the program outside the World War II monument in Washington D.C. that he planned a concert to raise money to cover those additional costs.
The concert is scheduled for 4:30 p.m. Monday, Nov. 11, on the outdoor stage at the Alabama Music Hall of Fame, Director Sandra Burroughs said. Music begins at 6 p.m.
"It's going to be a pretty big deal," Burroughs said.
City spokeswoman Ashley Morrow, of Click Synergy, said tickets are $20, and all proceeds will go toward paying the cost of the guardian needed to accompany an aging veteran, especially those who fought in World War II. Because of their age, Honor Flight Network is concentrating on World War II and terminally ill veterans.
Underwood said he was in Washington D.C. with his son when he saw a bus arrive at the World War II memorial with a police escort. Elderly veterans in wheelchairs and their companions exited the bus.
"About this time, the people there lined up in a victory line for these gentlemen," Underwood said. "The men were pushed through this victory line with people cheering for them, hugging them, shaking their hands and thanking them for their service."
Underwood said the images stuck with him and when he came home, he began thinking of a way Tuscumbia could help offset the cost of sending local veterans and their companions to the capital.
"This is 100 percent about veterans," Underwood said.
Morrow said there are other events that will take place before the music begins. Those details will be released at a later date.
"There will be stuff for kids to do, food trucks, fun things to do beforehand," Morrow said.
Underwood said the event will end with a huge fireworks display.
According to their website, Honor Flight's mission is to transport America’s Veterans to Washington, D.C., to visit those memorials dedicated to honor the service and sacrifices of themselves and their friends. Honor Flight Network is a nonprofit organization created solely to honor America’s veterans for all their sacrifices.
Since an estimated 640 world War II veterans die each day, Honor Flight is racing to honor these veterans before they die. World War II veterans are given priority, but require a guardian or traveling companion.