Jim Spellman, WireImage.com
"The Yellow Ribbon program offers eligible post 9/11 GI Bill veterans and their family members an undergraduate degree tuition-free, or a graduate degree tuition-free or at a greatly reduced tuition rate," Charlie tells The Boot. "It's providing low cost or no cost tuition to some people who very much deserve it who have served our country."
Charlie describes Operation Yellow Ribbon as "a hand up, not a hand out" that provides valuable assistance for veterans whose lives have been changed by their service. "There are a lot of people who go to war that plan to put their time in and when they come out plan to do something else," Charlie says. "They have a profession planned that they want to do, and they receive some injury while they are there that precludes them being able to do that and being able to do what they'd intended with the rest of their lives. It has to be a pretty confusing time when they get an injury that makes it impossible for them to pursue something they intended to do, and sometimes they are totally uneducated to do anything else.
"To think that they could get a degree at a fine college that would enable them to pursue a dream and find something else they wanted to do with the rest of their life, that's pretty special," says Charlie.
In addition to the musical performances, this is the second year Gen. Franks will be speaking at Operation Yellow Ribbon. "He's a down to earth country boy," Charlie says of the retired general. "He is extremely funny. I had no idea he was as funny as he is. He broke everybody up last year. He alone is worth the price of admission. Take the rest of us out of the equation, he alone is worth that. We're just icing on the cake. It's going to be a fun show."
Tickets for Operation Yellow Ribbon are $10 and are available at Middle Tennessee Daily's stores or at the Lipscomb University box office. The show starts at 7:00 PM CT at Lipscomb's Allen Arena and is being produced by David Corlew & Associates in conjunction with Lipscomb University. Daily's, iostudio, Military System Group, ADS, Spirit Broadband, Tennessee Commerce Bank, and Tennessee National Guard are sponsors of the event.
"You could never pay these people enough for what they've done," Charlie says of our soldiers. "It's a hand up. It's a way of saying 'we appreciate what you've done. What can we do for you? If you need an education, here it is.' It's a very worthwhile thing to do."