The Opry Salutes the Troops
Photos courtesy Grand Ole Opry LLC. Chris Hollo, photographer

The Opry held its special Salute the Troops Opry performance this week. Among the artists scheduled that performed were Trace Adkins, Lindsey Ell, Brantley Gilbert, Lee Greenwood, Craig Morgan, The Wild Feathers, and Mark Wills.

Ernie Andrus, 95-year-old World War II sailor lead the red carpet parade of fellow military men and women into the Opry House before the evening’s performance. In 2016, Andrus became the oldest person ever to run across America, journeying from San Diego, California to Saint Simons Island, Georgia. Last month, he began a second run across the country, beginning in Georgia with a planned finish in California after his 100th birthday.

Andrus is running to raise money and awareness for the LST 325 Ship Memorial in Evansville, Indiana. While 1,051 LSTs (landing ship tanks) were built during World War II, only the 325 is fully restored, operational, and open for tours. Learn more here. 

Retired U.S. Army Lt. Gen. Keith Huber, MTSU’s senior adviser for veterans and leadership initiatives, was the guest announcer for the final 30 minutes of the two-hour show.

Huber, who led efforts to create and open MTSU’s Daniels Center, said Tuesday’s show marks MTSU’s first collaboration with the Opry’s annual salute to veterans.

Combat veteran Jay Strobino, a Silver Star recipient whom Huber aided in graduating from MTSU, also appeared as a guest announcer at Tuesday’s event, representing the Transition to Trades program by Hiller Plumbing, Heating, Cooling and Electrical.

The Opry and the United Service Organizations (USO) invited men and women of the U.S. military as well as spouses, children, and parents of service members to follow Andrus on the red carpet into the Opry House for the evening’s show, dedicated to saluting the troops and their families for their service to the nation.