Sean Hannity and Lt. Col. Oliver North hosted Freedom Alliance’s fourth annual Freedom Concert on Friday at Six Flags Great Adventure in Jackson, N.J., which featured singers Sara Graham, Hank Williams Jr. and Lee Greenwood.
The focus wasn’t on the world-renowned entertainment, however. There’s something about Freedom Alliance’s Freedom Concert and Rally for the Troops that sets it apart from other summer festivals.
This concert is about acknowledging the men and women who are defending and preserving freedom through service in the U.S. military. In addition, a percentage of the concert’s profits benefit the Freedom Alliance Scholarship Fund, which awards college money to the children of fallen soldiers.
Freedom Alliance development officer Kathy Rothschild estimated 12,000 to 13,000 people attended Friday’s event.
The concert began at 7 p.m., but the park was open all day. Long lines of people in patriotic T-shirts stretched around the grounds all afternoon, waiting for a chance to meet Ann Coulter, Oliver North or Mark Levin. The authors were signing copies of their books, Freedom Concert T-shirts and, in a few cases, skin.
These pundits and authors were not the only VIPs in attendance. This year Freedom Alliance paid a special tribute to five Gold Star families from Fort Hood, Tex., in addition to troops from D.C.-area medical centers.
“We want Americans to remember sacrifices these soldiers have made, which is why we bring wounded troops up from Walter Reed Hospital and the Naval Hospital,” Rothschild said.
These men comprise a group known as the Wounded Warriors. Some have lost limbs, and some have received medals for their courageous actions. All were honored by Sean Hannity and Oliver North at the annual Freedom Concert. They were treated to front-row seats for both the radio broadcast and the concert.
The Gold Star families sat in the same area as the wounded soldiers. The term Gold Star family has been around since World War II, Rothschild said. Each of the families in attendance at the concert lost a family member in Iraq.
“This was an opportunity to publicly show these Gold Star family members how much America appreciates them,” Rothschild said. “We wanted to let them know that we think their soldiers are the true heroes, and to honor them.”
Freedom Alliance’s Scholarship Fund puts all money donated directly to grants and scholarships for children of fallen troops. Rothschild estimates that 25,000 children are now without a parent because of the war on terror.
“A lot of children who receive this money are little now,” Rothschild said.
“Eventually, in some period of time, the war is going to wind down, and these children will still be here and they will be ready to go to college.”
Anita Schneider of East Hartford, Conn., said the scholarship fund was her motivation for coming.
“We are really grateful to the soldiers,” Schneider said. “I know some of the money from our tickets goes to their children, to the scholarship fund, and it is the least we can do.”
Anita and husband Jonathan waited in a long line to meet HUMAN EVENTS Legal Correspondent Ann Coulter, but that wait paled in comparison to their travel time. “I’m nine months pregnant, so the drive here took almost seven hours,” Anita said. “We kept having to stop.”
The Schneiders deemed this Freedom Concert—the couple’s first—a success. “We love the fact we have brave soldiers willing to defend us,” Schneider said.
A west coast Freedom Concert is scheduled for Aug. 2 in San Diego.
Former House Speaker Tom DeLay at Friday’s Freedom Concert
Lt. Col. Oliver North, a HUMAN EVENTS columnist, with fans
Ann Coulter and Sean Hannity mingle with fans
Sean Hannity and Ann Coulter at Friday’s Freedom Concert