KILLEEN, Texas — December 6 was a busy day on the grounds of the Fort Hood Army base. Of the troops stationed there, one-third were returning from the field of war, and another third were gearing up to ship out that day. It was a moving time for the families and friends of many servicemen and servicewomen.
The base invited [artist id="1218145"]O.A.R.[/artist] to mark the special occasion with a show, inviting both soldiers and their families to join in the festivities. "Being able to perform for the troops means a lot to us," frontman Marc Roberge said. "It means in some way we can say thank you face to face, without a bumper sticker, and give them a break from what they're doing."
"They say they're just doing their jobs, but they really are heroes," drummer Chris Culos added. "They sacrifice so much, and their families sacrifice so much. And what they do to protect our country — we can't thank them enough. Just to be here to perform for them is quite an honor."
O.A.R. played a full set for the troops but also spent the day on Fort Hood's grounds, visiting with those about to head off to Iraq. The bandmembers are no strangers to these difficult circumstances: Prior to recording their new album, All Sides, they traveled to Iraq and Kuwait as part of a USO tour.
General Rick Lynch, commander of Fort Hood, was stationed in Iraq during that particular visit, and he told the band how inspiring it was for the troops on the ground. "I'm all about deeds, not words," he told them. "A lot of folks say, 'We support our troops,' and I say, 'Well, OK, do this,' and they say, 'Well, we don't really do anything — we just say the words and carry the bumper stickers.' But with you guys, it's deeds, not words."
For Roberge, it's the least they can do for those who are protecting America. "There's so many people who are affected by it, and I just feel like they're doing the best they can, but they need help," he said.