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Music and military brass — and flying monkeys. Something wasn’t quite right, but it sure was fun when the newsboys rolled into the Pentagon on Tuesday.

The Christian rock band performed at the Pentagon’s solemn memorial service marking the sixth anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks. But soon afterward, the guys moved the action into a small auditorium in the basement and turned up the tempo for a special concert. Instead of the band’s typical audience of T-shirt-clad teens and twentysomethings, lead singer Peter Furler and his mates were confronted by hundred of uniforms and business suits. However, this is the band whose recent hit boasts: “Wherever we go, that’s where the party’s at.”

Australia-born Furler ordered the crowd to its feet and had it bouncing, clapping, waving arms and singing along before the end of the first song — “Shine.” It was also during this song that the monkeys started flying. Although the stuffed simians aren’t part of any newsboys tradition, they certainly contributed to the party atmosphere.

After the concert, Furler took the time to answer a few questions.

Why did you accept the invitation to perform at the Pentagon memorial service?

Furler: “Australia, like America, is very patriotic so we understand the greatness of America. We might even like it more than some Americans. We’ve been around the world and spent many days in the United States and know how great it is. … And my wife’s American. … I have a love for it. I never thought about America before I came here, to be honest with you. It wasn’t something that I grew up as a kid wanting to go to America. I just landed here traveling with a rock ’n’ roll band and it captured me.”

How was the memorial service at the Pentagon different from a typical newsboys concert?

Furler: “I think the thing that was different was the dynamics of the people of all different faiths and beliefs being together in one room. That was very powerful, that was what was different. As the newsboys, we’ve played shows in Marrakech, Morocco, in front of 15,000 Muslims. We’ve played on the Sea of Galilee at a New Age festival — you know all different beliefs, atheism, Buddhism, Hinduism and Orthodox Jews — but to be in a place like this, the Pentagon, being with different faiths standing together with people that want peace, people that are willing to die for peace, people that have died for peace, there’s the broad range of dynamic emotions. You know hearing someone like [retired Lt. Col. Brian] Birdwell, with his burns, 60 percent of his body, hearing that story, I mean that’s just wow! You hear those stories but to hear it coming from the person’s mouth, that’s a one-of-a-kind. So there were many different emotions.”

Do you have any additional words for the troops?

Furler: “I’m thankful for them. I’m proud of them. I’ve got just the highest respect. We’ve been here today at the Pentagon but, even just seeing one of them walk through the airport in our travels, we take a moment to let them know that we’re proud of them. And there are millions of Americans and millions of Australians that are proud of the military. It doesn’t get said enough: What we have is because of what they do.”

Today’s Praise is a roundup of news and reviews from the contemporary Christian music industry.

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