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WWII vets sing ‘God Bless America’ in stunning video from Black Rifle Coffee and Best Defense Foundation

American and British World War II veterans on a tour of significant sites in the European theater render honors during the singing of the "Star Spangled Banner" June 1 at Thorpe Abbots, England. (Staff Sgt. Austin M. May/U.S. Air Force)
November 12, 2018

A group of seven World War II veterans came together to sing “God Bless America” for a stunning Veterans Day video in 2018.

Shots of the veterans singing in the video were filmed at the Brittany American Cemetery and Memorial in Normandy, France, as a collaborative effort Black Rifle Coffee Company (BRCC) and Best Defense Foundation (BDF).

Watch the video below:

The veterans sang, arm in arm, while the acoustics of the church building provided a unique echo to their chorus of voices.

Other footage throughout the video was shot by Marty Skovlund, Jr., who is executive editor of BRCC’s “Coffee, or Die Magazine.”

The seven singing veterans were identified as:

  • Jack Myers – 692nd Tank Destroyers
  • Richard Klein – 3/501st Airborne, 101st Airborne Division
  • George Smilanich – 67th Armored Regiment, 2nd Armored Division
  • Jack Foy – 347th Infantry Regiment, 87th Infantry Division
  • George Ciampa – 607th Graves Registration
  • Francis Turner – 17th Engineer Battalion, 2nd Armored Division
  • Boris Stern – 2/424th Infantry Regiment, 106th Infantry Division

The video was posted on Veterans Day – Sunday, Nov. 11, 2018 – and had garnered more than 559,000 views on Facebook and another 29,000 likes on Instagram in 24 hours since it went live.

BRCC confirmed to American Military News that the footage used in the video was filmed by both BRCC and BDF.

Best Defense Foundation, founded by former NFL player Donnie Edwards, is a nonprofit organization that focuses on facilitating support and community for veterans and families as they transition to civilian life.

BDF’s motto is, “Take care of the ones who took care of us.”

“Every year the Best Defense Foundation accompanies WWII veterans back to Europe to pay homage to their fallen brothers and the battlegrounds they once fought on,” BDF said in a brief message included with the video.

The video appears to be a project undertaken during one of the BDF-sponsored WWII veteran trips to Europe.

BRCC is no stranger to veteran causes. Founded by former Green Beret Evan Hafer, BRCC maintains a predominantly veteran executive board and overall staff, and their ultimate goal is to hire 10,000 veterans.

BRCC also frequently supports veteran groups, such as providing 100 percent of their profits from their “Warrior’s Heart Blend” coffee to the Warriors Heart Foundation, which provides healing centers for veterans struggling with issues ranging from substance abuse to PTSD.

A donation request section of BRCC’s website allows people to submit a form requesting donation assistance from BRCC.

“BRCC is committed to supporting deployed service members, community programs, and other causes that strive to make our nation great,” the site says.

The headline of this story has been edited.