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The Oak Ridge Boys Vocalist Joe Bonsall Pays Tribute to WWII Vets – and His Own Parents

Waylon Jordan

Oak Ridge Boys vocalists and author Joe Bonsall has paid tribute to his parents and World War II veterans by writing a song and a book entitled “G.I. Joe and Lilly,” referencing his mother and father, both of whom are buried at Arlington National Cemetery.

The title “G.I. Joe and Lilly” refers both to the book written by Bonsall and published by New Leaf Press in 2003, and a song on the 2003 album “Colors.”

According to Bonsall, “We did the CD to honor and pay tribute to those who have defended (and now defend) our country.” He adds, “My parents got to hear the song in concert before they both passed away in 2001.”

The mighty oaks performed the tune a few years later while taping a TV special for “Feed the Children.” This taping marked the first performance of the tune following Joe’s parents’ death. Bonsall says “As the cameras rolled, I got very emotional as I sang about my Daddy and Mommy. I found myself wishing that they could have been there, and when I got to the song’s last line, I just lost it.”

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