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The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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Deep from the heart, live in Aggieland

One+America+Appeal
Photo by Photos by Cassie Stricker
One America Appeal

The stars aligned in Aggieland Saturday night, rallying support for those impacted by this year’s brutal hurricane season, creating a historic, unforgettable evening for fans from Texas A&M and beyond.
Former Presidents Jimmy Carter, George H. W. Bush, Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and Barack Obama joined a stunning lineup of musicians in Reed Arena for the Deep From the Heart: One America Appeal Concert, raising relief funds for the victims of hurricanes Harvey, Maria and Irma.
Flanked by performances from multi-platinum-selling country group Alabama, pop star Lady Gaga, soul legend Sam Moore and others, the group of former presidents delivered remarks on the devastation wrought by 2017’s powerful storms and America’s effort to heal its wounded communities.
“These were grievous storms back to back,” Clinton said. “There is still work to be done in Texas and in Florida and our friends in Puerto Rico and the American Virgin Islands have only begun to dig their way out of what could be still a calamitous disaster, but can be a new beginning if we just do what we ought to do and prove that the heart of America, without regard to race or religion or political party, is greater than the tides.”
Before the first song was sung, the One America Appeal Campaign had already generated over $31 million from around 80,000 individual contributors, according to David Jones, CEO of the George H. W. Bush Presidential Library Foundation. Throughout the televised event, an additional $2 million was collected through a text message donation system.
Though the former Presidents Bush and former first ladies Barbara and Laura have become familiar faces at A&M, the concert was one of very few trips to College Station for Carter, Clinton and Obama.
“I’m thrilled to be able to introduce 39, 42 and 44 to one of the finest universities in the United States,” George W. Bush said.
The concert also served as a homecoming for country artists Robert Earl Keen and Lyle Lovett, Class of 1978 and 1979 respectively, who came together to perform “This Old Porch,” a song written in the heart of College Station, not far from local landmark The Dixie Chicken.
Of all the acts to take the stage however, none drew quite as tremendous a response as pop superstar Lady Gaga, whose surprise appearance brought the Reed Arena crowd to its feet.
“Pain is such an equalizer,” Gaga said. “And in a time of catastrophe we all put our differences aside and we come together because we need each other or we can’t survive.”
Five specific stories of service and the people behind them were honored at the concert with awards from Points of Light, a volunteer organization inspired by former President George H. W. Bush’s Daily Point of Light Award honoring the positive achievements of individuals.
“That spirit of altruism, that spirit that says we’re all in this together, that in dire times ignores all the differences that we had before, that spirit is exemplified by the five Points of Light recipients,” Obama said.
To close the event, the evening’s array of bands and artists shared the stage with Texas A&M’s Singing Cadets and the Houston Gospel Choir for a rendition of Bill Wither’s 1972 hit, “Lean on Me,” emphasizing the spirit of cooperation and collaboration behind the long-term hurricane relief efforts.
“All of us on this stage here tonight could not be prouder of the response of Americans when they see their neighbors, when they see their friends, they see strangers in need, Americans step up,” Obama said.

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