Nashville Parade Honoring Fallen Heroes Capped With Performances from Brantley Gilbert, Lee Brice, and More

by TK Sanders

A parade through downtown Nashville featuring marching firefighters with bagpipes and drums helped raise money for military veterans. The parade formally preceded the Tunnel to Towers Never Forget concert at Nashville’s Wildhorse Saloon last week. Featuring over 100 New York and Nashville firefighters playing their instruments, the honorary procession marched down Broadway in order to raise money for veterans, first responders, and Gold Star families of military.

Tunnel to Towers will use the money raised to provide mortgage-free homes for families of fallen heroes and custom-designed smart homes for injured veterans.

“We made a promise at Tunnel to Towers. Anyone who protects our community or country if they give their kids a kiss good-bye and don’t come home, we are going to take care of their families left behind,” said Frank Siller, chairman and CEO of Tunnel to Towers Foundation.

Siller founded the non-profit in honor of his brother Stephen, a New York City firefighter who died on Sept. 11.

After the parade concluded at the Wildhorse, a handful of popular country artists like Old Dominion, Willie Shaw, Lee Brice, Darryl Worley, and Brantley Gilbert played a free concert for a host of first responders and military service members. Dubbed the ‘Never Forget’ concert, the free show honored the 2,977 people who lost their lives on Sept, 11.; including 73 law enforcement officers and 343 firefighters that died that fateful day.

At the concert, Tunnels to Towers proudly announced that it planned to construct and donate six mortgage-free homes to various Tennessee families in need.

According to NewsChannel5, Nashville residents can watch a replay of the parade and concert on May 27 at 8 p.m.

Last year another country music star teamed up with a non-profit to build specialty homes for veterans

In a similar act of service for Nashville veterans last Sept. 11, retail giant Bass Pro Shops partnered with Lee Greenwood and non-profit Helping a Hero to present a wheelchair-accessible home for two families in need. Middle Tennessee-based vets Lance Corporal Eric Frazier and Sergeant Antonio Mullen both suffered traumatic bodily or brain injuries in the early days of the Iraq War.

Frazier lost his legs during his service with the United States Marine Corps as part of the 3/24 India Company based out of Nashville. His Humvee hit a roadside bomb in 2006 while on patrol. When he awoke, his life was forever changed.

“The first thing I woke up and I seen my arm was in a big ol’ Styrofoam holder thing. And I had lost my legs I was like, ‘I’m just not going to be able to shoot,’” Frazier shared.

Mullen shared a similar personal experience during combat: during an attack on his Forward Operating Base, the Sergeant ejected from the top of a service vehicle. He landed on his head, leading to a traumatic brain injury. Mullen’s wife said she experienced a very changed man when her husband returned from combat. She looks forward to a home that can better address their new needs.

“At the time I was unaware of PTSD or its symptoms. I felt as though I had lost part of myself; because it felt as though my husband hated me,” Mullen’s wife, Lacy, said at the time. “He eventually was officially diagnosed with chronic PTSD and started the process of medical retirement.”