Lawton natives sing tributes to troops

Photo by Vicky Smith

Photo by Vicky Smith

Vicky Smith
Copy Editor

In celebration of Veteran’s Day, the Southwest Country Music Festival featured performances from 12-8 p.m. on Nov. 8 at the Great Plains Coliseum.

Sponsored by Entertainment MVPs and Fort Sill Federal Credit Union, the festival was new to Lawton and a portion of its admission profits will go to the Soldier and Family Assistance Center on Fort Sill.

Center-stage, Cierra Mackenzie, Dannie Carson, J. Rashad Davis, Scott Newton, Cori Emmett, God’s Child and Ken Morrow sang out their hearts in “A Tribute to the Troops.”

One thousand guests sang the national anthem on stage at the festival, and the recording will be shared with troops both here and abroad.

Guests also snacked on concession foods and listened to the bands play original songs, as well as those by other artists; the genres ranged from country to rap.

Three performers in particular, Mackenzie, Carson and Emmett are locales who have a passion for country music.

From Cache, 13-year-old Cierra Mackenzie sang Britton Cameron’s “Put a Face on Me,” a song dedicated to the troops.

“So, put a face on me,” she sang, “I’m one more fallen solider from the other side. Never got a chance to hug his kids and say goodbye. Or wipe away the tears that they’re gonna cry.

“Somebody had to do it. Freedom may never be free. Somebody had to do it, so I said, ‘Why not me?’”

Carson, who lives in Apache, sang a series of country songs during her time on stage, including “Daddy’s Hands” by Holly Dunn. Halfway through her performance, she paused to express her gratitude to American troops.

“So thank you to everyone who has served,” she said, “or that is still serving.”

A homegrown Lawton girl, Emmett started singing at the age of five and now lives in Nashville, Tenn.

Emmett described her stage performance as “high energy,” and her music offers a mix of contemporary country and classic rock.

Emmett said the festival is an awesome opportunity to give back to troops.

“I think it will help the community come together and celebrate a great cause – the American solider,” she said. “People will remember why we love the armed forces and be very thankful for our military keeping us free.”

The festival is also special to Emmett personally.

“My grandfather gave his life in the Vietnam war in order to keep America a free country,” she said. “This festival and what it stands for means a lot to me.”

Emmett said music is a way she can connect to people of all ages and cultures.

“I’m a big hearted person,” she said, “so I believe that if given a chance, I can do a lot for people through my music…Music is a universal language, and it can reach people in ways others things cannot.”

Travis McKinney, a freshmen communication major at Cameron University, said Emmett has a wonderful voice.

“I think she uses it [her voice] to kinda tell a story,” McKinney said, “Her music is powerful, and the cover that she sings must mean something to her and kinda what’s she’s trying to get across.”

McKinney said the intention of the festival was great.

“My dad’s a veteran of 13 years…,” he said. “We should all honor our veterans and our troops. They are willing to sacrifice their lives for our freedom.”

For McKinney, the festival itself was a reflection of the blessings he has as an American.

“…I feel privileged to live in America – a free country,” he said, “and to enjoy such things as music and art…”


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