On Monday, the Rock and Roll Hall of Famer announced his inaugural concert to benefit VetsAid, his new non-profit to lend a hand to veterans and their families. Keith Urban, Zac Brown Band and Gary Clark Jr will be joining Walsh on the bill Sept. 20, 2017 at the EagleBank Arena in Fairfax, Virginia, with more artists to be announced soon.
It’s a cause that hits close to home for Walsh, 69. His father, a flight instructor, died in a plane crash while stationed on the Japanese island of Okinawa. Walsh was just 20 months old when the loss devastated his family.
“War is hell for everyone involved,” he says in a press release. “I lost my father when I was a baby, before I could even make a memory of him. I stopped counting the number of friends I lost in the Vietnam War or that came home forever scarred mentally or physically or both. We’ve only just begun to appreciate the long-term impacts on our troops home from Iraq. And in Afghanistan, the longest war in American history continues to drag on with no end in sight and just last month this administration committed to send thousands more of our young men and women into the conflict with no defined goal or strategy.”
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A longtime activist for veteran relief—he recently gave guitar lessons to patients at the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center—Walsh aims to use his new platform to raise funds and awareness for the significant needs of the more than 51,000 soldiers who have returned home wounded from American military action in the Middle East since 2001. According to a 2015 report, veterans have a 50 percent higher suicide rate than civilians.
“I had to do something and rock and roll seems to be what I do best,” Walsh continues. “It’s also the least I could do for those who have served and continue to serve our country. We’re all in this together as Americans and seems to me lately that people are forgetting that. I asked my buddies Zac, Gary and Keith to step up and I’m so grateful that they did. Let’s put on a show, raise some money and celebrate our vets—and let’s do it every year!”
To learn more about VetsAid, visit their website here.