Scotty Hasting Honors WWII Veterans in Normandy, France and Celebrates Freedom at the 80th Anniversary of D-Day

Nashville, Tenn., June 25: After a whirlwind ten days in France, Black River recording artist, songwriter, and combat-wounded former infantryman Scotty Hasting returns from the experience of a lifetime honoring the courageous WWII Veterans on the 80th anniversary of D-Day in Normandy.

Participating in several events organized by Operation Democracy, the Purple Heart recipient takes an important step forward in remembering and preserving our freedom. "Afghanistan Veteran and rising Nashville star Scotty Hasting symbolizes the passing of the torch of Gratitude for our precious remaining WWII Veterans to the Next Generation so they understand the cost of our freedom and the imperative to be vigilant in defense of our Western Civilization," shared Operation Democracy's Cathy Cyphers Soref. "Scotty’s penetrating rendition of the new classic 'Red, White and Blue' evokes the depth of sacrifice made by a few for all of us and a call for all to participate in some form of public service."

During the week-long commemoration to celebrate those who so selflessly braved the incomprehensible D-Day missions of 1944, Hasting had the great privilege of performing and attending several events, including the Big Red One Dinner at the Château Bernaville, a children's parade and ceremony outside of the mayor's office, the AVA Liberty Banquet, and more. Additionally, Hasting observed the D-Day 80th Anniversary at Normandy American Cemetery, spent time with WWII veterans, and walked the long way from where the water breaks to the shore at low tide on Utah Beach. 

As the sole American Country music artist at the unforgettable celebration, Hasting represented the U.S. with various performances, most notably an appearance on the main stage in the Square of Sainte-Mère-Église for more than 20,000 people. 

Big Red One Dinner

As a former infantryman with the 1st Infantry Division at Fort Riley, this invitation-only event at Countess Dorothea de la Houssaye’s Normandy Institute at her Chateau Bernaville, which hosted Hasting alongside General Myers, Susan Eisenhower, Colonel Nightingale, WWII Veteran Charles Shay, Helen Patton, and more, was a sort of homecoming for the budding Country music artist. 

Countess Dorothea de la Houssaye introduced Hasting before he kicked off the intimate gathering with a performance of the title track from his debut EP, I'm America.

"I was with the 1st Infantry Division 4th Squadron 4th Calvary out of Fort Riley," shared Hasting following the introduction. "I was there from 2010 - 2015. I deployed in 2011 to Afghanistan, where I was shot ten times - five times in the shoulder, four times in the hip, and once in the thigh. Music has become a form of therapy for me and a way to fight the demons that knock on the door at night. It's a way for me to get rid of PTSD, depression, and anxiety. It's incredible to be here and a full-circle moment. To be here with fellow Big Red One guys…thank you for all that you do, have done, and continue to do."

Hasting then closed the dinner with an acoustic version of the raw “Red, White and Blue,” an emotional track he specifically recorded upon learning he would be commemorating D-Day in France. Written by Brett Boyett, Destin Bennett, and Paul Overstreet, “Red, White and Blue” was produced by Black River's Doug Johnson.

Pickin' Party Barbecue at the Chateau I’Isle Marie

Following the Big Red One dinner, Hasting joined WWII Veteran Dennis Boldt, ten 82nd Airborne soldiers, several actors from "Band of Brothers," the popular HBO series created by Steven Spielberg and Tom Hanks, which filmed in Sainte-Mère-Église, France, and more for an intimate barbecue at the Chateau I’Isle Marie. It was here that Hasting first met Dennis Boltd. Brought to Normandy by the organization Walk Among Heroes, this is the 99-year-old's first time back since he fought for freedom there at 19 years old. Dennis and Scotty immediately connected over a shared love of music. There, surrounded by countless people who have inspired Hasting as a Veteran and an American, the combat-wounded infantryman played a few songs around the campfire.

While the magnitude of being in the presence of Actors, Generals, and political figures in a beautiful, historic setting at Chateau I’Isle Marie was far from lost on Hasting, the rising Country singer had a particular group that he had been waiting to meet and hear their stories, his heroes - the World War II Veterans. 

On June 4, Hasting kicked off his second day in France with an event in front of Mayor Alain Holley's office in Sainte-Mère-Église with a program that included a children's parade.

The small town of Sainte-Mère-Église typically has a population of just under 3,000, but during D-Day celebrations, it bustles with nearly 30,000 people marking their liberation.

That evening, Hasting took the stage in front of tens of thousands of people in the town square of Sainte-Mère-Église, where he performed "Whiskey in the Bottle" from his debut EP, and his current single, the EP's title track, "I'm America." He opened for the UK band Pilots, featuring Nick Aaron and Alex Sabga-Brady from HBO's "Band of Brothers."

On June 5th, Hasting returned as Countess Dorothea de la Houssaye's musical guest to perform at a luncheon at Chateau Bernaville.

“Attending the annual commemorations of the D-Day landings is always such a special event. It was a privilege to travel to Normandy this year with our Soldiers to honor the sacrifices made by the veterans who landed there 80 years ago," shares Lt. Gen. Chris Donahue, commanding general, XVIII Airborne Corps. "Scotty Hasting takes his own experiences as a combat veteran and tells a powerful story through his music. He is a great example of how combat-wounded veterans can recover and continue to serve their country after their time in uniform ends.”

During the event, Hasting gave an emotional performance of "Red, White and Blue" to a captive audience, including active military and WWII veterans and the event's sponsor, American Airlines. Hasting brought the audience to tears by singing,

"Send me home on a one-way flight

I'm coming back for good this time

To the place where I was born and raised

Send me home to my family

And drape the flag right over me

Now that I've done all I can do

Send me home under the red, white and blue."

Omaha Beach Ceremony

On June 6th, the 80th anniversary of D-Day, Hasting had the honor of joining more than 10,000 people for an emotional ceremony at Normandy American Cemetery. Speakers during the moving memorial included Emmanuel Macron, the President of the French Republic; Lloyd J. Austin III, the U.S. Secretary of Defense; and Joseph R. Biden, Jr., the President of the United States. 

Although the cemetery itself is beautiful, it is astonishing to walk around the grounds looking down at the countless, perfectly straight rows of crosses, knowing each represents an American soldier who gave their all to protect the world. Not only that, but that they fell on the very ground on which they are remembered.

The significance of lessons learned by those who fought and paid the ultimate price, as well as those we celebrate who were able to return home, should be preserved. Yesterday's Veterans have much to teach the generations that follow, and for Scotty Hasting, meeting his heroes will give him fuel for years to come as he continues to bridge that gap.

For additional photos and videos from the once-in-a-lifetime experience honoring the 80th anniversary of D-Day in Normandy, click HERE.

Listen to the debut EP, I'm America, from Hasting HERE.


"For me, the demons of PTSD knock the loudest when it's quiet. When I have a guitar in my hands, I find peace," says songwriter, artist, and Army Veteran Scotty Hasting. In April of 2011, the former Army Infantryman with the 1st Infantry Division 4th Squadron 4th Calvary was left fighting for his life, flying out of Afghanistan on a medivac after being shot ten times. Narrowly escaping death, Hasting was left with severe nerve damage to his right hand and a loss of purpose as he was unable to continue his journey in the army. In 2020, when COVID-19 hit and shut down most of the world, the Purple Heart recipient picked up the unused guitar in the corner of his room, opened YouTube, and set out to teach himself how to master the instrument in hopes of fighting the isolation and silence. Hasting was immediately overtaken by this new passion and began to write his own original music, attending his first open mic night in Cookeville, TN — a night that changed his life forever as he found that he could escape his PTSD while on stage performing. In classic Nashville fashion, a chance encounter with the son of Black River Entertainment's President and CEO, Gordon Kerr, brought him into the sights of renowned hit songwriter, producer, and Black River's Vice President of A&R Doug Johnson, which led to the signing of Hasting's record deal with Black River late in 2023. Now on a mission to help anyone struggling with loss or their mental health find solace through his music, the Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky native bares his heart to listeners in his debut EP, I'm America (5/3). After hearing the project's title track, "I'm America" (2/9), written by Wade Kirby and Phil O'Donnell, Hasting knew he had to record it. "Every single line of this song is why I decided to enlist in the Army," says Hasting. Hasting's debut single on Black River, "How Do You Choose" (11/3), strikes a chord with anyone left to pick up the pieces from a life-changing moment that's left them asking God that age-old question. The "promising, impactful debut" (Billboard) details Hasting's first visit to best friend Adam Hamilton's tombstone following his death. Having found his escape from PTSD through archery and music, Hasting devotes his time and talents to several organizations, including CreatiVetsGuitars 4 Vets, and Operation Encore, to offer other veterans the same tranquility. Despite only first picking up a guitar in 2020, Hasting has already opened for incredible artists, including Dave GrohlTanya TuckerJelly RollChris Janson, and more, and recently represented the U.S. with multiple performances in Normandy, France, during a week-long celebration commemorating the 80th anniversary of D-Day this June.