Stars, stripes and an air of patriotism set the tone for the grand opening of America’s first National Museum of Patriotism in downtown Atlanta. The museum marked the momentous occasion by unveiling the Patriotism in Entertainment and Music exhibit in an award ceremony that included a grand ribbon cutting, complete with star-studded appearances.
“I am proud to be an American,” said legendary producer and songwriter, Kenny Gamble, who was honored at the event along with Patti LaBelle. “I have traveled the world, and to this day, have yet to see and experience what I have here.”
The museum, which displays the inspirational contributions of people who make this country great through patriotism in life, work and art, opened its doors to visitors with the hopes of promoting a renewed confidence in the American dream. After a moving invocation by Rev. Ralph Warnock, guests enjoyed a poignant 14-minute video tribute showcasing the accomplishments of honorees receiving the National Museum of Patriotism’s Patriot Award. The first-of-its-kind award is bestowed only on individuals whose patriotism contributes to the betterment of America.
LaBelle and Gamble were honored for their iconic contributions to American culture and their most recent musical collaboration, “ I Am An American.” The inspirational song, which meshed the remarkable voice of LaBelle with the Temple University choir and orchestra, promises to become the nation’s unofficial anthem, much like “God Bless America” and “God Bless the USA.”
“This is a special honor because I have experienced what this country has to offer first hand,” said Gamble. “I know that through hard work and perseverance, anything is possible.”
Other recipients included singer-songwriter Lee Greenwood (of “God Bless the USA” fame); female country music group Cowboy Crush; The Bob Hope Foundation; and Access Hollywood, for its continued coverage of troops oversees and at home. –reese harlan