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Scott Rouch, of the 98th Area Support Group Public Affairs Office, snaps a photo of concertgoers with Toby Keith, sitting in the front row, on Monday in Illesheim, Germany. The crew rushed groups of people through to accommodate the long line of fans wanting to have their pictures taken with the country music star. Keith, along with rocker Ted Nugent, performed a free Memorial Day concert in Illesheim for thousands of soldiers and family members.
Scott Rouch, of the 98th Area Support Group Public Affairs Office, snaps a photo of concertgoers with Toby Keith, sitting in the front row, on Monday in Illesheim, Germany. The crew rushed groups of people through to accommodate the long line of fans wanting to have their pictures taken with the country music star. Keith, along with rocker Ted Nugent, performed a free Memorial Day concert in Illesheim for thousands of soldiers and family members. (Rick Emert / S&S)
Scott Rouch, of the 98th Area Support Group Public Affairs Office, snaps a photo of concertgoers with Toby Keith, sitting in the front row, on Monday in Illesheim, Germany. The crew rushed groups of people through to accommodate the long line of fans wanting to have their pictures taken with the country music star. Keith, along with rocker Ted Nugent, performed a free Memorial Day concert in Illesheim for thousands of soldiers and family members.
Scott Rouch, of the 98th Area Support Group Public Affairs Office, snaps a photo of concertgoers with Toby Keith, sitting in the front row, on Monday in Illesheim, Germany. The crew rushed groups of people through to accommodate the long line of fans wanting to have their pictures taken with the country music star. Keith, along with rocker Ted Nugent, performed a free Memorial Day concert in Illesheim for thousands of soldiers and family members. (Rick Emert / S&S)
Toby Keith meets with soldiers from the 6th Squadron, 6th U.S. Cavalry Regiment in Illesheim.
Toby Keith meets with soldiers from the 6th Squadron, 6th U.S. Cavalry Regiment in Illesheim. (Rick Emert / S&S)
Toby Keith, right, and Ted Nugent perform "Who’s Your Daddy" Monday at Illesheim during the free Memorial Day concert.
Toby Keith, right, and Ted Nugent perform "Who’s Your Daddy" Monday at Illesheim during the free Memorial Day concert. (Rick Emert / S&S)
Fans cheer Monday as the start of the free Toby Keith/Ted Nugent Memorial Day concert draws near.
Fans cheer Monday as the start of the free Toby Keith/Ted Nugent Memorial Day concert draws near. (Rick Emert / S&S)
Fans react to Toby Keith's show at Illesheim.
Fans react to Toby Keith's show at Illesheim. (Rick Emert / S&S)

ILLESHEIM, Germany — There were no “Angry Americans” in Illesheim as rocker Ted Nugent and country giant Toby Keith unleashed a free Memorial Day concert to pay tribute to soldiers and their families.

About 7,000 people from military communities in Germany attended the concert. Many communities offered free bus transportation to the site.

Before the concert, hundreds of people had their photos taken with Keith and Nugent. In an effort to get all of the people in line in during the hourlong photo opportunity, groups of at least 10 people were rushed through. Digital photos will be available in about two weeks on the Morale, Welfare and Recreation Web site — www.mwr-europe.com — according to Lisa Eichhorn, 235th Base Support Battalion spokeswoman.

Still, some who hoped to have their photo taken were turned away as time ran out.

“I was the first one in the group they had to turn away,” said Joellen Arthur, from Schweinfurt. “I’m leaving for the States in a couple days and it was disappointing.”

However, Arthur said she expected the concert to make up for it.

“I can’t wait for the concert,” she said. “He’s been my favorite country singer since he started. I’ve always been a Toby Keith fan.”

During the 90-minute concert, Keith performed his troops-praising singles “The Taliban Song” and “Courtesy of the Red, White and Blue (The Angry American).” Nugent performed “Cat Scratch Fever” and a screaming guitar version of the national anthem.

Early on Monday, Keith and Nugent visited Landstuhl Regional Medical Center and spoke with soldiers who had been injured in Iraq.

“There was one girl who was waiting to have surgeries done, and we couldn’t get her to smile,” Keith said. “But the reason she wasn’t smiling is that the doc wouldn’t release her to get back to her unit in Iraq.

“It was an awful quiet ride on the way back [to Illesheim]. It was a very emotional time.”

Keith said he enjoys performing for the troops.

“They’re hard-working people and want peace just like everybody else,” he said. “But their mission is to make that peace.”

Nugent said meeting servicemembers was a wake-up call.

“It was a real powerful slap in the face,” he said. “The rest of the world is relaxed and comfortable, and they don’t even know why.

“We got to see the people who are fighting for that and willing to die for it.”

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