Legendary progressive rock musician Ian Anderson, best known for decades for his work as Jethro Tull, will present “Ian Anderson and the Best of Jethro Tull Helping the Heroes” at the National Theater in Richmond, Virginia on October 5.
The 7:30 p.m. performance has been organized by the Global Campaign Against Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs), also a chief sponsor. The concert will, in part, benefit Operation Peer Support, an initiative of the Blinded Veterans Association (BVA) that connects veterans who have lost their vision during the World War II, Korea, and Vietnam eras with the newly blinded who have been wounded in Iraq or Afghanistan as a result of IEDS, sniper fire, mortar- or rocket-propelled grenades, or combinations of other firearms.
Highlights of the event include VIP donor receptions both prior and after the show, a special one-hour opening performance by the Virginia Military Institute Commander’s Band, and a meeting of select veterans with Ian Anderson before the show with their attendance as special guests.
Also included will be a veteran art exhibit in the National Theater and Marriott Hotel lobby that showcases art created by veterans as part of therapy to recover from the visible and invisible wounds of war.
The Global Campaign Against IEDs will also sponsor “Dinner in the Dark” the evening before the concert (October 4) at Max’s Positive Vibe Café in the Stratford Hills Shopping Center in Richmond (2825 Hathaway Road). During the meal, participants will be deprived of all vision and immersed in a blacked out world that will provide them with impressions of what it is like to be one of America’s some 143,000 legally blind veterans. Food and wine has been specially selected for its flavor and aroma to enhance the unique sensory awareness experience. The dinner’s main course, for example, features gulf shrimp and grits with barbecued shrimp, pimento cheese grits, and crispy collards.
“The funding goal for the concert and related events is $115,000 with a ‘stretch goal’ to fund key projects supporting veterans and first responders of an additional $60,000,” said Colonel Bob Morris (Ret), a 31-year veteran of the U.S. Army and founder of the Global Campaign Against IEDs.
The total funding goal of $175,000 will cover all event costs and provide resources for three key programs: training and equipment to help a member of BVA who was injured by an IED in Iraq achieve his Olympic dream and compete in the 2018 Korean Paralympic Biathlon; training, certifications, and job placement for up to 10 veterans in Virginia; and a campaign to increase the safety of children and their schools through a program to reduce school violence and the threat of IEDs therein.
More than 85 percent of all service member injuries and deaths in Iraq and Afghanistan have resulted from IEDs. No other single weapon in U.S. military history has been the cause of more injuries and deaths. IEDs are the cause of the four major injuries to veterans and active-duty military. These injuries are vision loss, hearing loss, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, and Traumatic Brain Injury (now also linked to vision loss and blindness).
Tickets for the concert are on sale to the general public at http://www.thenationalva.com/events/detail/ian-anderson-and-the-best-of-jethro-tull. For additional information about “Dining in the Dark” or to purchase tickets online, visit www.CampaignAgainstIEDs.org/Tull.
BVA is the only Congressional chartered Veterans Service Organization exclusively dedicated to serving America’s legally blind veterans. The organization was founded in 1945 by war-blinded veterans returning from World War II.