Classic Patriotic Toby Keith Speech Resurfaces on Fourth of July

Toby Keith penned “Courtesy of the Red, White and Blue” in the wake of two tragedies: his father’s death and 9/11. The Oklahoma native planned to reserve the song for USO shows until Gen. James L. Jones, the Marine Corps commandant, convinced him to record it. Although polarizing, the track became a post-9/11 rallying cry for many country music listeners. From there, Keith’s career became synonymous with unabashed flag-waving. The “Should’ve Been a Cowboy” singer stayed true to the red, white and blue even while in the throes of stomach cancer. Today, country music fans are remembering one fiery display of patriotism during Keith’s final concert.

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Fans Remember Toby Keith on Independence Day

Toby Keith died in February at age 62 following a two-year battle with stomach cancer. Seven months earlier, the disease had taken a visible toll on the 14-time ACM Award winner. However, that didn’t stop him from surprising patrons at his Oklahoma bar, Hollywood Corners, with a pop-up show.

[RELATED: Hometown of Toby Keith Honoring the Country Icon With Special 4th of July Tribute]

Despite the cancer ravaging his body, Keith played for 2.5 hours straight. And as he wrapped up “Courtesy of the Red, White and Blue,” the country star had a message for the crowd.

“Never apologize for being patriotic. F— ’em,” Keith said, raising his middle finger in the air.

Video of the incident made the rounds on social media Thursday, as Americans celebrated the Fourth of July.

“Miss that guy….the country needs more Toby Kieth,” one user wrote on X/Twitter.

“I’ve Never Been Political”

Toby Keith frequently found himself refusing to apologize for his patriotism, especially where “Courtesy of the Red, White and Blue” was concerned. Many critics found the song too brash, taking issue with lyrics such as, You’ll be sorry that you messed with The U.S. of A / ‘Cause we’ll put a boot in your ass / It’s the American way.

“I’ve never been political.,” Keith told AZ Central in 2018 “I thought it was cool to support the military.”

He added, “You can’t go out and support the military in Afghanistan or you get all the right-wing checkmarks that come with it. I was like, “Well, I’m just gonna take ‘em. Mark me down. Just check me off however you want to check me off.”

Featured image by Jason Kempin/Getty Images for BMI

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