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JBL: The Outspoken Patriot
John Bradshaw Layfield's been called a slew of names by our fans: World Champion, color commentator, loudmouth, instigator, arrogant, filthy rich.
Granted, the last four on that list make it easy to overlook any redeeming qualities that JBL may possess. However, something inescapably commendable is Layfield's devotion to his country. Last weekend's involvement in the American Freedom Festival is just one of the numerous examples.
The American Freedom Festival took place over Veterans Day Weekend, where JBL joined a crowd of more than 2,500 in Washington, D.C., to support and honor those wounded in combat, the disabled and families and children of veterans killed in action during Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom.
"I have no talent so I emceed the event," JBL joked. "Catherine Bell from the television show JAG was there, and country musicians Darryl Worley headlined it along with Martina McBride. It's really a feel-good event that took place at Constitution Hall that's for a good cause.
"WWE helps out every year with monetary donations, posters or graphics … things like that. Who knows, maybe next year WWE can partner up with these guys?" he said.
The event was broadcast over AFE -- Armed Forces Entertainment -- and shown to U.S. troops all over the world.
"My first trip to Afghanistan, before the invasion of Iraq (which occurred in March of 2003), was with Sgt. Maj. of the Army, Jack Tilly," JBL said. "He's retired now, but since he's been retired, he's helped to raise money for the troops with the American Freedom Festival. Sgt. Maj. Preston replaced Jack Tilly, and he took me to Afghanistan and then to Iraq; I also went to Iraq with WWE, but stayed a little extra afterward."
Love him or hate him (we all know which is easier), underneath the cowboy hat, the blanket of arrogance and bundles of money lies a man and a Superstar who knows the importance of loyalty and respect toward soldiers serving their country to the best of their abilities. That, at least, is something admirable about JBL.