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The Stand Up For Heroes Concert In New York, With Bruce Springsteen And Brandi Carlile, Celebrates Veterans

Jeryl Brunner

“I’ve got your six.”

In the military the phrase means “I’ve got your back.” It stems from WW1 fighter pilots who looked after the plane’s rear (or six o’clock) position.
Photo by Mike Coppola/Getty Images for SUFHBob Woodruff, Lee Woodruff, Donnell Rawlings, Nate Bargatze, Bruce Springsteen and more!

Last month at the 15th annual Stand Up for Heroes celebration to honor our nation’s veterans and their families, everyone banded together to remind them that they had their six and more. The epic November 8 concert, held at Alice Tully Hall at the Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts in New York, raised awareness and more than $4.6 million for the Bob Woodruff Foundation (BWF).

Founded in 2006, the organization offers programs and resources to support service members, veterans and their loved ones. “It was started with genuine generosity of spirit. Bob and Lee [Woodruff] started the foundation as an act of selflessness,” shared Anne Marie Dougherty the chief executive officer of the BWF. They have reach in all 50 states, programs all over the country and lean and mean team. Their mission is provide veterans and military families with care above and beyond what the government provides.

Presented by the Bob Woodruff Foundation (BWF) and the New York Comedy Festival (NYCF), the concert was an epic celebration with music and comedy featuring Nate Bargatze, Brandi Carlile, Jim Gaffigan, Grace Gaustad, Nikki Glaser, Sing Harlem, Donnell Rawlings, Bruce Springsteen, and Jon Stewart.

Springsteen, who had performed at the event 13 times before, has a special connection with the veterans who sit the front row. This time, the front row held five active duty Marines from Company G “Ghost Company”, 2nd Battalion, 1st Marine Regiment, who served at the Kabul International Airport during the Afghanistan withdrawal.

“We need to remind the military and their families that we are there for them and grateful and proud and will not forget that there are thousands and thousands of troops still around the world” said Caroline Hirsch, the owner and founder of Caroline’s of Broadway who helped launch Stand up for Heroes. “There are so many people around the world who want to do something for the veterans who serve and risk their lives for us,” added Bob Woodruff. “And this is one chance to do it.” As Craigslist and Craig Newmark Philanthropies founder Craig Newmark shared, “The Bob Woodruff Foundation is doing something real about helping.”

In between performances those who served in our military shared their stories of unyielding courage and determination and the impact BWF had in their lives. Army veterans Ash and Crystal Engert, who received aid from the foundation's Veterans In Vitro Initiative to help them through their fertility journey, got to introduce their baby daughter Addie. Marine veteran Bradley Lang, who lost both of his legs above the knees when stepping on an explosive device in Afghanistan was honored for his contribution to adaptive sports. When this reporter asked Lang what he wanted people to take away from his story,   he answered without hesitation. “Hope,” he said. “Don’t give up. A lot of times the new future is the better than the past.”

The grand finale was a performance by Springsteen who sang “Hungry Heart,” “Letter To You,” “Dancing in the Dark” and “I’ll Work For Your Love.” Tearing up the crowd at Alice Tully Hall before singing a note, the boss came out and said, “It’s lunchtime at the sex shop.” Then he paused to assure the crowd, “I play the guitar too. But I tell some bad jokes before I do.”

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New York based journalist who has written for Forbes, Parade, InStyle, National Geographic Traveler, Travel + Leisure, and The Wall Street Journal. Author of the book "My City, My New York, Famous New Yorkers Share Their Favorite Places" and podcaster, ("When Lightning Strikes"). I cover the arts, theater, entertainment, food, travel and people who are motivated by their joy and passion.

New York City, NY

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