Billy Ray Cyrus has always had a charitable heart. He has supported causes like AIDS & HIV, animals, children, education, family/parent support, health, hunger, Parkinson's disease, veteran's services, Nashville's tornado victims, and the list goes on. Most recently, he performed in support of the international advocacy organization, Global Citizen, that recently announced $127 million in commitments for healthcare workers in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic. And it's the Covid "monster" that has him admiring the people fighting it.
"I'm like everybody else," the Thompson's Station resident says, "I'm just amazed at our first responders. The real heroes. Brave people going in there and making the ultimate sacrifice in some cases. This thing has become warlike. Seeing them step up to the plate is the very definition of Some Gave All."
"Some Gave All" is the song Cyrus penned back in 1989 (from his 1992 album by the same name) and it's really quite amazing that a song written more than 30 years ago echoes what is happening in the world today. Originally, the song was written to pay homage to our veterans. Cyrus says, "I wrote a song about a Vietnam veteran that I met one night, but we have seen this throughout our times. A selflessness of stepping up. Take 9/11 for example. Police officers, firemen, military, etc. Similar to this moment. Overwhelming sadness. Yet, you could still look and see the heroes. It was almost like a call to action for heroes. We saw it then and we're seeing it again now. It's been amazing and incredible to watch."
Early in May, Cyrus participated in a digital town hall to help raise awareness about Native Americans being susceptible to the virus and arranged for 20,000 masks to go to reservations in Arizona and New Mexico. Cyrus says, "On those reservations are some of the most vulnerable of vulnerable people. Some don't even have running water or electricity. I just happened to be in a position where I could help. But in the big picture of things, I'm basically very small and inadequate compared to the doctors and nurses and all the unsung heroes like store clerks and truck drivers of this pandemic."
He humbly continues, "I'm a singer/songwriter. I feel people's emotions. In some ways I'm like the Little Drummer Boy, and can give the gift of song. And in 1989 I wrote a song. That's what I can do. Say thank you to our first responders through that song."
He's reflective and thoughtful. "You know the old saying, 'Repetition is the mother of skill?' Well, I re-wrote that just a little bit in lieu of this pandemic. I've been saying 'Necessity is the mother of skill.' We're in such a search for a cure, a vaccine, more ventilators, more masks. It's through that necessity that you develop repetition."
During last year's CMA Fest, Cyrus was presented with a special commemorative Metro Nashville Police Department (MNPD) coin with the words 'All Gave Some, Some Gave All.' MNPD's chief of police, Steve Anderson presented the "chief's coin" to honor their fallen officers. For Cyrus, it was a "sacred" night, and another full circle moment for the song that helped launch a nearly three decade career.
While Cyrus looks for the light at the end of this tunnel, he contemplates, "Life was so much simpler just one year ago. We've all lived so much in these last couple of months."