Dulles, Virginia – A spectacular kickoff to the 2010 Hannity Freedom Concert Tour began this past weekend with shows at New Jersey’s Six Flags Great Adventure, and Kings Island Amusement Park in Ohio. Hosted by radio and television personality Sean Hannity, the two shows saw nearly 20,000 enthusiastic Americans come out for a patriotic celebration of America and her heroes. “The sold-out crowds in each city,” explained Freedom Alliance President Tom Kilgannon, “showed that ‘Love of Country’ in America is alive and well.” He said that the first two shows of the Freedom Concert Tour were “entertaining and inspiring.” Legendary rockers Lynyrd Skynyrd, country music favorite Charlie Daniels and Christian artist Michael W. Smith played their classic hits, patriotic melodies and tributes to those who serve our country.
Since 2003, the Freedom Concerts have helped Freedom Alliance to raise more than $10 million for the Freedom Alliance Scholarship Fund and we were pleased to introduce a few of our scholarship recipients at these two shows.
During the New Jersey Freedom Concert, Freedom Alliance’s Founder and Honorary Chairman Oliver North was joined on stage by sisters Kristen and Carolyn Smith, both of whom have received college scholarships from Freedom Alliance. The Smith sisters are the daughters of Technical Sergeant Rick Smith (USAF), a member of the Air National Guard’s 106th Rescue Wing. Smith was killed in a helicopter crash on October 30, 1991, while attempting to save the lives of others. Kristen is a graduate of Stony Brook University on Long Island, and Carolyn is a Sophomore at Monmouth University in New Jersey.
Amy and Matt Spellacy were among the students who represented the Scholarship Fund during the Cincinnati Freedom Concert. They are the children of Captain David Spellacy who served as a U.S. Marine until he was killed on February 25, 1991, when his plane was shot down during Operation Desert Storm. Amy will graduate this year from Ohio State University and pursue a career in Fashion Merchandising. Matt is studying Environmental Engineering and begins his third year at Ohio State in September.
The Freedom Concerts are patriotic celebrations of America and her heroes, which pay tribute to the men and women of our Armed Forces, their families and the principles they fight to defend.
Attendees at the Freedom Concert in New Jersey had the opportunity to meet Bob and Annette Sandri, parents of Sergeant Matt Sandri, a paratrooper with the 82nd Airborne Division, who was killed in Fallujah, Iraq on March 20, 2004, when an enemy rocket hit the trauma facility where he was working.
The Cincinnati audience welcomed the parents of LCpl Taylor Prazynski, USMC, who was killed in Al-Anbar Province, Iraq on May 9, 2005 by mortar shelling during heavy combat, and Sherry Thomas whose husband, Danny, was killed in a training accident in April, 2000 while serving in the U.S. Army.
These are just some of the many Gold Star Families who honored us with their attendance at the Freedom Concerts and told of their sons’ and husbands’ heroic service. We are grateful and humbled by the sacrifices their families have endured for the sake of our nation’s security and safety.