NASHVILLE, Tenn. (CelebrityAccess MediaWire) -â€“ Country music recording artist Mark Chesnutt became an unfortunate and unsuspecting domino in the American Airlines' "grounding" last weekend when the flurry of canceled flights forced his band and road crew to rearrange their entire travel scheduleâ€”forcing Mark to cancel one of his shows altogether.
American Airlines canceled 933 flights across the nation on Thursday, April 10, 2008 to inspect the air vessels for potential wiring hazards in wheel wells that could cause fires or problems with landing gear on the MD-80 jets. Scheduled to depart Nashville's BNA Airport that day, Chesnutt's band and crew were among the thousands of passengers who suffered the chaos in airports across the country as they attempted to make their way to Fort Hood in Killeen, Texas to join Chesnutt for the "Salute to Our Heroes" benefit concert appearance at the military base.
Despite aggressive efforts, American Airlines was unable to secure flights to get Chesnutt's gang from Music City to "somewhere" in the Lone Star state. The officials at Fort Hood stepped up to purchase tickets on Southwest Airlines to get Chesnutt's band to Killeen. Chesnutt, a featured artist at the concert event, (and his band) successfully made the gig to perform in front of an audience in excess of 50,000. The "Salute to Our Heroes" concert, organized by Fort Hood's Directorate of Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation was a closed celebration aimed at honoring veterans of the war on terrorism and their families. Military and family members, retirees, Gold Star families, Department Of Defense civilians and contractors were in attendance and more than 80,000 enjoyed the festivities.
This was Chesnutt's first appearance at Fort Hood — the only two-division post in the United States (1st Cavalry Division and the 4th Infantry Division) and home to the III Corps. To "Mark" the occasion, after his show, Chesnutt signed autographs at his merchandise table for nearly three hours, spontaneously and graciously electing to give away t-shirts, hats and CD's to those who have dedicated their lives to serving our country.
"These men and women put themselves at risk for us when they go out and fight for our freedoms. The very least I can do is sign a few autographs and give this minimal giftâ€”a hat or a t-shirtâ€”to show my appreciation in return," Chesnutt said.
Further problems with American Airlines carriers prevented the band and crew from catching a connecting flight the following day resulting in the cancellation of Chesnutt's April 12 performance at Cattle Annie's in Lynchburg, Virginia. "Just goes to show, it's not â€˜always' faster to fly and it's best to just "Roll with the flow" Chesnutt said in jest. The Lynchburg show is to be rescheduled in the coming months.
Mark Chesnutt is scheduled to release his next CD, "Rollin' with the flow", in late June. – CelebrityAccess Staff Writers