Today, Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA), the nation's first and largest nonpartisan organization for veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and Everfine/Atlantic recording group O.A.R., announced the launch of an ambitious outreach campaign entitled "Open Up Your Arms." Working together, IAVA and O.A.R. have created a campaign that will engage and mobilize Americans by asking them to pledge their support to our nation's men and women in uniform. The campaign has a goal of 11,111 online signatures by Veteran's Day on November 11th.
"As the war in Afghanistan enters its eighth year, we are reminded more than ever of the tremendous sacrifices that troops, veterans, and their families have made and continue to make for our country. Every American has an obligation to support these men and women, and they can begin by joining the 'Open up Your Arms' Campaign," said IAVA Founder and Executive Director Paul Rieckhoff. "O.A.R. is an engaged band that really cares about our community. We appreciate their outstanding leadership and dedicated service."
"After meeting our injured troops at Walter Reed and visiting Iraq we felt a very personal connection to the plight of the physically and emotionally injured warrior. We believe it's time we opened up our doors, minds, and hearts to the men and women who need our support. 'War Song' is a song written through and for the warrior," said O.A.R. lead singer Marc Roberge.
The campaign features an interactive website, www.OpenUpYourArms.org , where users can sign the pledge. Every person that signs up from now until October 20th at midnight EST will receive an email the following day with a link to an exclusive video for O.A.R.'s "War Song," which the band wrote upon returning from their USO visit to Iraq and Kuwait in 2007. The email will also include information about a live web chat with the band on the evening of October 21st. Additionally, 111 fans will win limited edition O.A.R./IAVA t-shirts, 11 will win signed t-shirts, a gift bag, and a pair of Skullcandy earbuds, and 1 lucky fan will win a pair of tickets and backstage passes to meet the band at an upcoming O.A.R. concert. Winners will be selected at random and will need to sign the pledge in order to qualify.
O.A.R., which includes band members Marc Roberge (vocals, electric & acoustic guitar), Richard On (electric guitar & background vocals), Jerry DePizzo (saxophone), Benj Gershman (bass), and Chris Culos (drums) formed in 1996. They have blazed a unique grassroots trail across America, revealing their compelling musical vision through near-constant touring. With their distinct sound and introspective, heartfelt lyricism, the band has earned a fervent following from coast to coast. The band is best known for their hit singles "Love and Memories," "Heard the World," and most recently for "Shattered" and "This Town." O.A.R. has sold over 1.7 million albums and have sold out several venues including the World's Most Famous Arena, New York City's Madison Square Garden, twice. The band has a long history of supporting the men and women of the military including a USO Tour to Iraq and Kuwait, a visit to Walter Reed, a performance on MTV's concert special "A Night for Vets: An MTV Concert for the BRAVE," and a performance and visit with the troops at Fort Hood, Texas. O.A.R. recently released their sixth studio album All Sides which includes a track "War Song" about their USO trip in 2007. With these experiences in mind, the band wanted to engage their fans to organize and pledge their support for our troops and veterans.
"With every signature added, we are growing a national movement that supports and honors our nation's veterans. This campaign gives every American a way to make a difference," said Rieckhoff. "We're taking action, raising awareness and using music as an instrument of change. We hope millions of Americans will stand with IAVA and O.A.R., and pledge their support to our nation's newest generation of heroes."
For more information on O.A.R. you can check out their website at www.ofarevolution.com .