A few Memorial Days ago, I was sitting comfortably on my sofa, enjoying salty snacks and a refreshing sweet tea while watching a program honoring our military on TV. Mary was about to inform me when the charcoals were ready to throw on the steaks. Life was good.
Featured in the TV program was actor and veteran Charles Durning, a U.S. Army Ranger during WWII. Durning won the Silver Star and was awarded three Purple Hearts.
Despite his remarkable achievements and sacrifices for freedom, still moved after all these years, Durning humbly stood at the podium and wept for his fallen brothers. Wow, I thought. Do they make real men like Durning anymore?
After the TV program honoring Durning and other American heroes, the following program honored great American conscientious objectors.
Folks, it was quite annoying watching these conscientious objectors, guys portrayed as superior human beings for pontificating about the evils of war and why they chose not to participate. I thought, “You guys are free to enjoy success, freedom and spout your crap ‘in English’ because brave men like Charles Durning fought on your behalf. How dare you!?”
Fast forward to last year, when I sent out a call to musicians, singers, and bands all across America to come together, record a song titled “Taking Back America,” and donate enough songs to create an album celebrating America, honoring our military, and benefiting — through AmericasMightyWarriors.org — the families of those who have made the ultimate sacrifice.
Before I tell you about the response I received, let me tell you about Debbie Lee. She’s the mom of Marc Alan Lee, the first Navy SEAL killed in Iraq. On numerous occasions, Marc stepped up, putting himself at risk to defend his fellow soldiers. In response to the death of her decorated son, experiencing firsthand the challenges facing the families of fallen soldiers, Debbie founded AmericasMightyWarriors.org.
Now, about that response. It was overwhelming. From country music to rap by a black conservative, featuring every genre in between, we selected the best 44 songs from hundreds of submissions. Jo Piazza at Fox News cleverly titled the project Tea Are The World.
Now, here is the truly heartwarming, divine providence aspect of the project. We had no money for recording, manufacturing, distribution, or marketing. When asked about such details, my response was simple: “I don’t know.” I felt God only instructed me to put out the call to musicians. He did not fill me in on how it would all come together.
Remember the old Mickey Rooney and Judy Garland movies? A character would say, “Let’s put on our own show!” Another would say, “That’s a
great idea! My uncle has 500 chairs stored in his garage.” They’d rally together and put on an amazing production.
Tea Are The World pretty much came together the same way. Get this, folks — around 100 musicians across America flew or drove, on their own dime, to Deltona Records in Florida to record “Taking Back America.”
Frank Starchak, Deltona Records owner, music producer, and engineer, is famed for recording Tupac Shakur and numerous other celebrities. FREE of charge, Starchak recorded and produced the 100 musicians singing “Taking Back America” and mastered the 44-song double-CD set included in the Tea Are The World package.
Emmy-winning TV producer Norvell Rose informed me that he and his son, Conner, both in Virginia, would be arriving at the recording session to produce a music video and a “Making of Tea Are The World” documentary — all for FREE. Both the video and the documentary are now included on the DVD included in the Tea Are The World package.
Professional distributor Tom Horn offered to distribute Tea Are The World FREE of charge.
Singer Lisa Scott Kelly joined Debbie Lee to shake the trees and find funds for manufacturing, our only expense. Everything has been donated.
Rev. Minion told me how his wife Danielle, a professional graphic designer, got involved. Upon hearing about Tea Are The World on the news, Danielle said, “Honey, I feel I am supposed to help these people.” Danielle Minion designed the Tea Are The World package and promotional materials. She did all of the production artwork work needed to prepare the package for manufacturing. And she donated her services FREE of charge.
Now here is the kicker. After Danielle committed to our project, she became pregnant. Of her three pregnancies, this one has been the worst; she was sick almost very day. Then, Danielle’s project files became corrupted. Rev. Minion said that in Danielle’s years in the business, never have so many things impeded her ability to complete a project.
But here it is. Folks, I am pleased and grateful to announce that Tea Are The World is completed, beautifully packaged, and available for purchase, praise God.
Please do not think I am dissing other fundraisers by simply stating a fact. With some, when the dust clears, as little as 10% goes to the charity. 100% of the proceeds from the sale of Tea Are The World go to the benefits bestowed upon the families of our fallen soldiers by AmericasMightyWarriors.org.
Because of the sacrifices of our military, which include brave women and men like Charles Durning and Marc Alan Lee, we are blessed to enjoy Memorial Day cookouts with our families. Please remember the families of our fallen soldiers.
Happy Memorial Day!