People of all ages filled Collins Alumni Auditorium on Monday, July 1, the second day of Summer Celebration, to hear Lipscomb presidential spouse Rhonda Lowry interview legendary singer, guitarist and fiddler Charlie Daniels about his faith in God and how it has impacted his life.
Traditionally at Summer Celebration, Lipscomb's annual festival of faith, fellowship and fun, Lowry interviews celebrities and people of note about their faith walk. Daniels has become a good friend to Lipscomb as he has partnered with the university for four years to hold an annual concert to raise funds for military veterans to attend college.
At a very young age, Daniels formed a love and appreciation for the service men and women of America that would last him a lifetime. Today, at 76 years old, Daniels still remembers the events of World War II.
“I remember D-Day in 1944,” Daniels said. “I was 8 years old at the time. My mother got me up early and said we were going to church to pray for the men who had been hit at the beach at Normandy. That day, I felt that America really came together under the grace of God.”
Throughout his illustrious career, Daniels has not only prayed for the troops, but has reached out to them as well through his musical talent.
“We go to these places called Forward Operating Bases and entertain the troops there,” Daniels said. “It’s such a gratifying thing to be able to play for them. When they say thank you, I don’t understand. I want to say thank you to them for what they do for us and their country.”
For the past four years, Lipscomb has hosted the Charlie Daniels’ Scholarship for Heroes Tour, a concert aimed at raising money for the Charlie Daniels’ Scholarship for Heroes Fund which provides tuition-free college education for post 9/11 veterans at Lipscomb and other colleges around the nation.
“A lot of these people have gone through so much pain and so much suffering,” Daniels said. “They come here to get an education, and they can do something with their lives.
“To watch the light come back into the eyes of these guys is the most wondrous thing to behold,” he said.
Daniels himself is not a stranger to suffering. In January 1980, Daniels went through a tragic accident on his ranch that almost left him without the use of his right arm.
“My healing was not quick,” Daniels said. “It was a very frustrating time for me during those four months. I think we never call on God as hard as we do when we’re in trouble.”
Today, Daniels has learned that trusting in God can take him a long way.
“The Bible says to love the Lord your God with all your heart, and love your neighbor as yourself,” Daniels said. “I believe that if we strive to do these two things, then everything else will take care of itself.”