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Gene Simmons, the legendary rocker and frontman of KISS, has spent the better part of decades filling arenas around the world with tens of thousands of adoring fans.
But earlier this week, he found himself in a much different venue, speaking to a much smaller crowd made up of staffers and military personnel and yet still managed to give everyone goosebumps by telling a deeply personal story of American patriotism — one that nearly brought him to tears on multiple occasions.
McClatchy - DC - Simmons - Pentagon - Briefing
According to McClatchy DC, Simmons used the Pentagon’s briefing room to help promote a new push to make the public more knowledgeable about military service and different career paths.
The mission is increasingly important due to the alarming number of young Americans who aren’t eligible to serve for a variety of reasons.
Podium - Simmons - Group - Mother - Survivor
While at the podium, Simmons told the group about his recently deceased mother, who was a survivor of a Jewish concentration camp.
“I’m a proud son of a concentration camp survivor of Nazi Germany. My mother was 14 when she was in the camps,” Simmons said, while understandably choking up several times.
Child - Television - Mother - Night - Stations
He explained that when he was a child, he used to watch television with his mother at night. When the stations were done for the evening, they would usually go off the air and an American flag, waving in the wind, would fill the screen. The National Anthem would begin to play shortly after.
With another lump in his throat, Simmons gently told the crowd that every time his mother saw the American flag on the TV, “she’d start crying.”
People - God - Bless - America - Simmons
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