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Church Members Honor Nation’s Veterans

(Atlanta, Georgia) -- November 11, 2003

By David Winters

What do Grammy-nominated band, SHeDAISY, a frequent-flying executive, and a dedicated group of amateur performers all have in common?  

It turns out they share more in common than one would think.  Although their stories are very different, they share a common faith, they have ties to Atlanta and, most importantly, they all made an impact recently in honoring the nation’s veterans.

Former President George Bush

Tribute to country, family, and faith

Grammy-nominated and multi-platinum recording group, SHeDAISY shared the stage with former U.S. president, George Bush, in Atlanta in an annual Veterans Day celebration at the headquarters of The Coca-Cola Company.  The Company has 900 employees who are U.S. veterans.

“We all feel so honored to be invited to give tribute to those who have served and continue to serve our great nation,” lead singer, Kassidy Osborn  stated at the beginning of the program.  “It is an honor to entertain former President Bush, who is a war hero in his own right.” SHeDAISY is also popular with current President George W. Bush, having performed for him on several occasions.

SHeDAISY members Kassidy, Kelsi, and Kristyn Osborn

The group consists of Kelsi, Kassidy, and Kristyn Osborn, originally from Magna , Utah .  Despite 14 years in Nashville , and having sold a few million albums, the harmonious trio has not forgotten its roots.

The three sisters are all active members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  They pray before each concert and serve in various Church callings.

The short program at Coca-Cola included a tribute to their grandfather, a veteran who served in World War II.  The tribute was a tightly harmonious arrangement of “Battle Hymn of the Republic,” a favorite of their grandfather. At the end of the number, Company employees gave the Osborn sisters a standing ovation.

“He needs to get home”

Steve Meadows, an executive in Atlanta was readying for a flight to Nashville when he met a soldier trying to get home to see his wife and baby.  “His baby was seven months old, and he’d been deployed in Iraq for the past nine months,” Meadows said.  “He was headed home for a two-week stay and then would return to Iraq .”

The soldier was having trouble getting home.  He, along with twenty-one other soldiers, was flying stand-by.  Meadows, a frequent traveler, went to the Delta Airlines gate agent and asked that the soldier take his seat on the plane.  “I simply told the agent, ‘He needs to get home.’ I didn’t do anything that anyone else wouldn’t have done.  That soldier needed to get home to see his family, so I simply volunteered my seat.”

The gate agent initially refused, because the flight would potentially be late in leaving.  Meadows held his ground. “The agent made a call to the Delta pilot, who was apprised of the situation, and the pilot said, “Make it happen.”

“After I gave up my seat, someone right behind me volunteered his as well.  Soon the pilot asked other passengers if there were any others who were also willing to give up their seats.  One by one the passengers volunteered their seats.  All 22 soldiers were able to get on that flight home.” Meadows recounted the story in church services on Sunday in his Latter-day Saint congregation in Norcross , Georgia .

He continued, “I thanked the soldier for his service, and told him to tell his family how much we all appreciated his service.  I handed him my cell phone so he could call home.  The soldier called his wife and said, ‘I don’t know who this man is, but he just gave me his boarding pass; I’ll be home in forty-five minutes.’ He then thanked me and said, ‘Enjoy your freedom.’”

The simple act of kindness did not go unnoticed.  Word reached CNN, who then interviewed Meadows.  He also had requests for an interview on one of the national morning programs, but declined.  “I was just doing what I felt was the right thing to do.  I didn’t expect or want any media attention,” Meadows commented.

Spirit of America Radio Show

“That was the best local church production I’ve ever seen,” was a common statement following a tribute to veterans at The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints’ church building in Roswell , Georgia November 7th and 8th.

The USO-type show highlighted vintage Broadway music and patriotic numbers.  The performers, all members of the Roswell Georgia Stake, practiced for months to make it an extremely polished production.

U.S. Veterans honored at Spirit of America Radio Show

Reaching out to the community to honor veterans was a key objective of the production.  Keri Hughes, the show’s director, stated, “We can’t ever do enough to thank our veterans.”  In addition to the production at the church, the group is also visiting the VA hospital and local retirement communities.

Kerri Wall, a member of the production stated, “We all had such a fun time and felt privileged to be a part of this.  It was an honor to reach out to the community in such a meaningful way.  One gentleman from the community, who saw the show on Friday, came back the next day with all of his grandchildren.”

In addition to the show, a VIP reception was held for city and state leaders, as well as  veterans and public servants from the community.