LAS VEGAS – Toby Keith thought he was just showing up to perform during the television taping for “ACM Presents: An All-Star Salute to the Troops” on Monday night at MGM Grand’s Garden Arena in Las Vegas. While that was true, there were also troops on hand to honor Keith.
At the end of the more than three-hour program, Keith sang his final song, “American Soldier,” and turned to thank and shake hands with the military personnel on stage. He stood at the end of the line while a military officer and executive with the USO took the microphone. They explained that Keith had played 200 shows and entertained more than 250,000 men and women in uniform and their families. They announced Keith was being presented the Spirit of the USO Award, and Keith jerked around in surprise.
“That caught me off guard,” the singer said. “I saw a need and a void the great Bob Hope left behind, and no one was filling it, but as hard as Big Dog Daddy tried, I couldn’t bring Marilyn Monroe.”
Fans can (likely) watch Keith be presented the award when “ACM Presents: An All-Star Salute to the Troops” airs on television at 8 p.m. May 20 on CBS. Because the live show has not yet been edited for television, it is unknown what will make the cut. In addition to Keith’s performance and award, an array of country stars performed with members of the military Monday night. The service men and women both sang and played instruments.