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The Rolla Daily News - Rolla, MO
  • Rodney Atkins 'honored' to perform at FLW

  • Platinum-selling country music artist Rodney Atkins has performed sold-out concerts all over the world — but playing at Fort Leonard Wood for a military audience was “at the top” of his list.
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  • Platinum-selling country music artist Rodney Atkins has performed sold-out concerts all over the world — but playing at Fort Leonard Wood for a military audience was “at the top” of his list.
    Atkins rocked Nutter Fieldhouse Wednesday night with a two-hour performance in front of 2,100 military members and civilians. The concert was presented through a partnership between USO of Missouri and Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation.
    "People always ask me about the coolest places I've played at,” Atkins said during the concert. “This is definitely on the top of my list."
    Atkins performed several of his No. 1 country hits including “Watching You,” “These Are My People,” “Cleaning This Gun” and “Take a Back Road.”
    A spine-chilling “U-S-A” chant could be heard loud and clear from the audience in between Atkins' songs.
    Before performing, “It's America,” Atkins was sure to thank the military in his audience for their service. Atkins told a story about the first time he heard an improved explosive device go off when he was on tour with the USO in Afghanistan.
    Atkins has been a long-time supporter of the military and has performed many concerts in combat zones overseas with the USO.
    “Thank you to all the men and women home and abroad,” he said to the audience. “To those who have served in the past, present and future — thank you to you and your families for your service and sacrifices.”
    Atkins said after the concert he was “more than honored” to perform for the military at Fort Leonard Wood.
    “I could not do what I do without the military,” he said with visible goosebumps on his arms. “I'm stammered for words thinking about how important these people are. They never complain. I am just so honored to be here.”
    Atkins has two uncles who have served in the U.S. military and holds a special place for service members. He has visited wounded warriors in hospitals and met thousands of soldiers throughout his USO tours.
    Atkins said that concerts performed for the military deliver a different meaning to him.
    “These guys are not only working hard, but knowing the sacrifice they could be making — it's unbelievable when the reality of that hits you,” he said. “It's knowing the dedication and the uncompromising loyalty for each other. They have each others' backs and they have our backs.”
    Atkins said that throughout his career there have been hundreds of military members who have impacted his life and he was more than thankful to perform in Fort Leonard Wood.
    Page 2 of 2 - “The crowd was rocking it,” Atkins said. “They were amazing. My ears are still ringing.”
    Atkins said that Fort Leonard Wood was the first of several stops with the USO.
    “When we were asked to do this, it was a no-brainer,” Atkins said. “Fort Leonard Wood was a priority.”
    Atkins is currently working on his fifth album that is set to release later this year.
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