By SUSANNE KAPPLER, Fort Jackson LeaderSeptember 16, 2009
FORT JACKSON, S.C. -- More than 4,000 Soldiers packed the Solomon Center Sunday for the last event in this year's summer concert series, featuring Christian artist Bethany Dillon.
For the second year, the monthly series brought a variety of Christian performers to Fort Jackson.
"The Installation Chaplain Office hosted some Christian music concerts in the past, but last year we agreed to have six large joint worship services featuring a variety of Christian music during the summer surge," said Chaplain (Lt. Col.) Daniel Wackerhagen, deputy installation chaplain. "Each worship concert was different but they were all special and touched the hearts of all those who attended."
Dillon, who has performed in front of military audiences before, said she hoped to move the Soldiers in attendance spiritually, especially during a time like Basic Combat Training when they're away from home.
"It's a huge honor to get to (play for Soldiers) and to get to have a glimpse into their lives," she said. "You have this idea of what it looks like and then you show up and you see real people's faces and you're looking in their eyes and getting a real tangible sense of their sacrifice. It's an honor to get to come and to hopefully (give them) something that's restful for them and a break."
Pvt. Jasmine Stokes, Company B, 1st Battalion, 13th Infantry Regiment, said she attends church every Sunday at home in Michigan and appreciates the chance to attend the event.
"I like her songs," Stokes said. "Her songs are happy -- they make me think of home."
Wackerhagen said he hopes the series will continue next year.
"What we hope to achieve with the worship concerts is to provide a large church experience and an up-to-date music ministry for Individual Entry Training Soldiers who profess the Christian faith," he said. "But most of all, we want to provide the Soldiers with a wonderful opportunity to join together for worship and fellowship.