By Brian Ives 

Tonight, Jason Aldean will headline CBS Radio’s second annual Stars and Strings concert at the Chicago Theatre. The show is a salute to those who currently serve, or have previously served in our armed forces; a portion of the concert’s proceeds will benefit Folds of Honor, which provides educational support to spouses and children of America’s fallen and wounded soldiers. There are more than one million dependents adversely affected by military deployments and nearly nine out of 10 do not qualify for federal scholarships.

Aldean spoke to about his respect for veterans, and what freedom means to him. “To me, freedom means being in a position to be able to do the things we want to do and live the way we want to live. Our veterans and the people who are serving in the military right now, they’re the reason we have that. I think you have to respect that. And hats off to them for allowing us to be able to have that freedom.”

He comes from a military family, and he’ll be thinking about that when he hits the stage: “If I dedicated my performance to anybody, it would probably be my dad and my grandfather. Anytime I do anything like this, I think about them, and it makes me really proud that they served our country.”

He adds, “I’ve had people tell me stories about being in Iraq or Afghanistan or wherever and playing our music over there and that helps them get through the day, and that’s really cool to hear. No ‘thank you’ begins to describe it. I’m very appreciative of them for taking care of us and me and my family.”

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