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Toby Keith releases 9/11 message to America: ‘Never apologize for being patriotic’

Toby Keith sings at a surprise concert at Forward Operating Base Sharana in Afghanistan, on April 29, 2012. (U.S. Army photo by Photo by Staff Sgt. Charles Crail)
September 13, 2021

On Saturday, American country singer and songwriter Toby Keith put out a message commemorating the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

“20 years. #NeverForget,” Keith tweeted.

“On the 20th anniversary of 9/11, let’s all gather our families together, pray that God will keep us safe the rest of our lives and forever here in the great United States of America,” Keith said in his video message. “We all know where we were during 9/11 and the impact that it had on this world.

“Let’s never forget,” Keith continued. “Always remember, stay vigilant and never apologize for being patriotic.”

Keith has been outspoken about his patriotism, which he has woven into his music throughout his career. In May 2002, just months after the 9/11 attacks, he released “Courtesy of the Red, White and Blue (The Angry American)” whose lyrics allude to the terrorist attacks and America’s response:

“Now this nation that I love has fallen under attack
A mighty sucker punch came flyin’ in from somewhere in the back
Soon as we could see clearly
Through our big black eye
Man, we lit up your world
Like the fourth of July.”

In a 2017 interview with, Keith explained the inspiration behind some of the lyrics for the song. “I was sitting out there, just a few days after the [Twin] Towers came down. I was working out in the gym, and I heard these talking heads say, ‘Well, I guess we could bomb them. That would be so the American way,’ and I was like, ‘What just happened to us? Are we supposed to just stand by and let this happen? Could we not be mad as hell about this?'”

Keith went on to say, “I wrote [‘Courtesy of the Red, White and Blue’] on the back of a Fantasy Football sheet that was laying there; I just turned it and wrote around the edges and, in about 20 minutes, wrote the lyric out and called it ‘The Angry American.’ When I turned it in, they said, ‘Well, it really doesn’t say “angry American” in there. Why don’t you call it ’Courtesy of the Red, White and Blue?’ So, I did.”

After its release, “Courtesy of the Red, White and Blue” topped the Billboard Hot Country Singles & Tracks chart and reached number 25 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart, and became a post 9/11 anthem.

Keith alluded to the song in another tweet on the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks. “Folk Polk, LA…brought to you courtesy of the red, white, and blue. Thank you to those stationed at Fort Polk and to all who have served.”