Veteran’s Day: Country Star Craig Morgan Talks Re-enlisting in the Army Reserve

For those few country music fans who haven’t heard, one of country’s beloved singers, Craig Morgan, recently announced that he has re-enlisted in the Army Reserves. In fact, he was sworn into service again during a performance at the hallowed Grand Ole Opry.

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What was the reasoning for Morgan’s re-enlistment? Why did he decide, at age 59, to rejoin the Army Reserves? Well, we caught up with the acclaimed songwriter and performer, who also recently released his latest record, the aptly titled EP, Enlisted.

[RELATED: Blake Shelton, Lainey Wilson Appear on Craig Morgan’s New EP]

American Songwriter: To be a successful musician, you have to sacrifice. And outside of music, you put yourself in places where sacrifice is prized—from a teenage EMT to being in the military and doing USO tours. What does the word “sacrifice” mean to you today?

Craig Morgan: I relate sacrifice to service. It’s just that simple. Anyone who is in the service world, and I mean those who are willing to make sacrifices for their service to others. To me, they’re one and the same. Sacrifice and service are the same. If you’re serving your country, whether it be a soldier, a law enforcement officer, a first responder, nurse—all of these people who put themselves in harm’s way, there’s going to be sacrifices that are required of you.

I told someone earlier, they said, “What’s the greatest sacrifice?” And I said, “Time.” That’s it. The one thing you cannot get back is time. I saw a video this morning on TikTok of a young man talking about what it takes to be successful, and he used some very colorful language. But he hit home with a point. Being the boss and being the guy who is successful means that you’re willing to make sacrifices that the average person probably isn’t willing to me. And the biggest one of those is time. And it’s the truth.

As a soldier, there were more than a few occasions when I was gone from home for up to a year. So, you don’t see your family, your kids, for a year. That’s a great sacrifice. And it’s also not just your sacrifice but it’s a sacrifice of the loved ones that they make. They’re willing to allow you to do that and not be with you and not have your presence for up to a year. And sometimes for the kids, they don’t even. They’re making the sacrifice and they don’t even have a part in the say. So, yeah. Sacrifice is service and service is sacrifice. And the greatest of that is time.

AS: What made you want to re-enlist in the Army Reserve this year and what will your primary responsibilities be?

CM: Two reasons. One, I had almost 18 years of total time and service. And I always felt like I didn’t finish something. By not getting that 20-year letter, you know? That’s very important to guys who serve in the military. Once you reach a certain point, you want to finish that 20-year, so you can get that letter that says I served my country for 20 years. So, I didn’t do that.

Two, I knew that recruiting was at an all-time low. So, I felt that with where I’m at in my career, we could utilize my platform to try to encourage people to serve our country. So, it was kind of a no-brainer. You know, my two worlds have always been a part of each other. Up until 2004, I was still serving. And I’d had some big hits to that point. So, to be able to bring those two worlds back together again, for me, is very, very humbling.

AS: How does your connection with military service impact your music?

CM: Well, unbeknownst to me, because I never paid enough attention, quite honestly, in the music world, I’ve always just tried to write, sing, record, and produce music that I’ve felt like the majority of our listenership would want to listen to. But I wasn’t really aware of, it because of who I am and what I do, the ‘God, Family, Country’ has always been at the core of my music. And again, it’s not something that I truly recognized until we started writing that book.

I started looking back historically at my music and every song for the most part that I record in some way related to God, family, and country. And I think that it always will. Somebody might ask, “How does ‘Redneck Yacht Club’ have anything to do with that?” Man, that is the core of my people! “That’s What I Love About Sunday,” you know, there’s God and family in that. Every song in some way is relatable to those three core subject matters, which are the three most important things in my life.

Photo by Jason Kempin/Getty Images

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