Monday, July 18, 2011

Songs for our troops

Today, I had a conversation with Miguel Estrada, a Panamanian immigrant. He came to the United States 30 years ago with nothing more than a thumb to hitch a ride. He's now a retiree living in Minneapolis.

An amateur musician, Miguel said he was inspired to write songs about his adopted homeland as a show of gratitude to the American people, who opened their hearts and arms to him. He said he would like to share his music with "our brave men and women that go overseas to fight for our freedom."

I reached out to Miguel after reading his response to a blog post about my cousin, Sgt. Leroy A. Petry. When I talked to him on the phone, he talked about how much America means to him and he became emotional when talking about my cousin's service. I was moved to share his music on this blog.

Miguel sent me two of his songs. The first, "We Are America" — written days after 9/11 — was recorded by professional musicians. Miguel is the vocalist on the second selection, "My Hero," which he wrote in tribute to Pat Tillman, an Army Ranger and former professional football player who died while fighting in Afghanistan.

Thank you, Miguel, for your recognition of our troops.

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