Keni Thomas Shines a Light on Veterans

Keni Thomas
November 11, 2014

Keni Thomas

Army Ranger (ret) Involved in "Black Hawk Down" Mission

Written by Samantha Stephens

As we honor our servicemen and women on this Veterans Day, Army Ranger-turned-country singer Keni Thomas gives us the perfect soundtrack to celebrate their dedication and sacrifice.

Thomas knows a thing or two about military life, and that in itself is a massive understatement.

A highly-decorated Army Ranger who served in Operation Restore Hope in Somalia and the Battle of Mogadishu and later brought to life in the book and film Black Hawk Down, Thomas has experienced firsthand the perils of war and subsequently, the all-too-prevalent perils of returning home in the aftermath.

In fact, for many years, Thomas admits it was hard for him to talk about his experiences, particularly the story of Black Hawk Down. "I fought it. I thought no one would understand it. It wasn't something we're supposed to talk about. It felt like I was bragging."

But the singer told me when God came into the picture, he realized he had an opportunity to serve a greater good and higher purpose by sharing his story. "I was becoming a conduit," he says. "The rucksack I thought I'd been dragging around with me was really a gift that could do some good. So now I tell the story of those extraordinary men he placed around me that day with a sense of purpose."

That is exactly why he's now using his story, his voice -- both figuratively and musically speaking -- to raise awareness for a special group of folks so often forgotten in our world today -- our beloved veterans.

And with his video for the single "Hold the Line," he's doing it in the most powerful and poignant way. The song is an important call to us all to band together and stand up to protect and support our men and women in uniform as they return home.

When it came time to film the music video, Thomas said he and his director wanted to keep the military scenes as authentic as possible, so he called on his friend Ed Salue, who lost his leg in Iraq, to play the film's central character, while the 3rd U.S. Infantry Regiment (the Old Guard) from Arlington National Cemetery offered up their full support as well, because they believe in Thomas' mission.

For Thomas, making this video is also about looking beyond the stereotype we often employ when we think about our veterans. He says, "I would ask that we realize the returning vet is more than just the stereotype of an old guy in a VFW parade. They are one of us. She is the single mom picking up her kid at school. He is the dad in the pew next to you with the titanium steel leg. They are your neighbors, your co-workers and your community because they are your military."

So what can do to help? Thomas says civilians do have the power to impact change together and told me, "We have to do our part to hold the line. We have to open our arms, welcome them home and help them to find purpose, motivation and direction back here in the real world. That takes all of us -- family, friends, community, employers, educators and policy makers."

And he encourages all of us to use our gifts to help our veterans. "Some folks have the gift of song. Then I would tell them to sing out loud. Some can give. Then give generously. Some can employ. Hire abundantly. Some have been put into leadership positions. Take the responsibility seriously and lead well. Whatever gifts you have been given, then use them."

He continues, "I know by the grace of God the only reason I'm still around is because of those folks. I realize that I've been given a gift. I have a voice that can get heard. That's a responsibility I cannot take for granted. So with that voice, I will do what I can to help. I choose to be a voice for veterans."

For information on how to book Keni Thomas for your next event, visit PremiereSpeakers.com/Keni_Thomas.

Source: CMT.com

Keni Thomas

Want Keni Thomas for your next event?

Find out more information, including fees and availability.
Find Out More
Keep Reading
Meet Two Dogs Who Are Honoring, Healing and Cuddling Veterans Every Day
Keni Thomas
Keni Thomas
November 09, 2018
Courtesy Southeastern Guide Dogs and Taya Kyle KELLI BENDER November ...
"Not Me" Featured in the new Country Faith Album, Available Now!
Keni Thomas
Keni Thomas
May 20, 2017
The latest in the hit Country Faith music series,Country Faith America, is ...
Keni Thomas | Chicago Auto Show
Keni Thomas
Keni Thomas
February 18, 2016
As we scroll through the endless stream of photos and enthusiastic feedback from attendees, we can't help ...
Meet Two Dogs Who Are Honoring, Healing and Cuddling Veterans Every Day
Courtesy Southeastern Guide Dogs and Taya Kyle KELLI BENDER November 09, 2018 02:28 PM Veteran's Day is Nov. 11, but to these two canines, every day is a day of gratitude for those who have served our country. Pups Norman and Keith were both trained bySoutheastern Guide Dogs, a Florida-based non-profit that trains guide and s...
Read More
"Not Me" Featured in the new Country Faith Album, Available Now!
The latest in the hit Country Faith music series,Country Faith America, is outMay 19. The release will mark the fifth album in the series that has accumulated $1.6 million in sales to date. Thefull-length studio album consisting of country music's biggest stars and their best patriotic hits will be exclusively released...
Read More
Keni Thomas | Chicago Auto Show
As we scroll through the endless stream of photos and enthusiastic feedback from attendees, we can't help but feel the buzzing energy of theChicago Auto Show! Since its debut in 1901, it has become the largest auto show in all of North America. This year marks year 108 that the Chicago Auto Show has been wow-ing car enthusiasts from all walk...
Read More
Keni Thomas performs for the Institute of World Politics Silver Gala in Washington DC
Left to Right: Lt. Gen. Michael T. Flynn, USA (Ret.)18th Director of the Defense Intelligence Agency,KT McFarlandNational Security Analyst, FOX News, Sergeant Keni Thomas Since its founding, IWP has grown into the nation's premier graduate school dedicated to developing leaders with a sound understanding of internationalrealities and the et...
Read More
Keni Thomas Shines a Light on Veterans
Written by Samantha Stephens As we honor our servicemen and women on this Veterans Day, Army Ranger-turned-country singer Keni Thomas gives us the perfect soundtrack to celebrate their dedication and sacrifice.Thomas knows a thing or two about military life, and that in itself is a massive understatement. A highly-decorated Army Ranger who serv...
Read More
Ex-Ranger Turned Country Singer to Perform National Anthem in Normandy for D-Day Anniversary
Written by Nancy Dunham The CMA Music Festival kicks off this weekend in Nashville, but country singer Keni Thomas will miss it for an out-of-town gig - way out of town. Mr. Thomas has accepted an invitation to sing the U.S. national anthem Sunday in the French village of Sainte-Mere-Eglise for the unveiling of the Allied Paratrooper Monument ...
Read More
Keni Thomas Delivers Inspiring Keynote to Graduates
Feel the energy and emotions of an Ashford University commencement ceremony! This montage of sights from the Spring 2014 ceremony is partially set to the inspiring words of Keni Thomas, country singer and a survivor of the battle that inspired the movie Black Hawk Down, who delivered the keynote address. The event was held at the iWireless Cente...
Read More
Soldiers revisit 'Black Hawk Down' battle 20 years later
Sgt. Keni Thomas, left, was in Mogadishu, Somalia, in 1993, when two Blacks Hawks went down and 18 U.S. soldiers were killed in battle. (Courtesy Keni Thomas) Written by Michelle Tan Twenty years after fighting in the Battle of Mogadishu, Keni Thomas and Jeff Struecker returned to Somalia. "You think I want to get on a plane for 40 hours an...
Read More
Keni Thomas Brings Teamwork To Schools
Written by Erinn CallahanPORT ARTHUR - A high-risk military operation and teaching algebra do not sound like similar climates. But according to Keni Thomas, their most fundamental component - teamwork - is the same."Each job is absolutely dependent upon the other jobs,"; said Thomas, the speaker at the Port Arthur Independent School District 201...
Read More
Keni joins Boston Pops Symphony at Special USO Concert [PHOTO]
PHOTO: Keni Thomas was invited by the Boston Pops Symphony to sing the National Anthem as part of theirspecialUSO "Salute the Troops" concert. Nashville's top song writers came to town and performed several of their big hits with the orchestra and famed maestro Keith Lockhart. For information on how to book Keni Thomas for your next event, vi...
Read More