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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Updated: Rick Scott celebrates with military at country music concert



Governor-elect Rick Scott celebrated his inauguration today with military personnel at a concert featuring largely country music artists. On tap, of course, is Lee Greenwood, famous for his song "God Bless the USA," which has that well-known refrain, "I'm proud to be an American, where at least I know I'm free." Before his official entrance into the arena with more than a dozen soldiers wounded in action, Scott stepped out from behind a curtain while a cover band played Journey's "Don't Stop Believin' " He danced a little bit, then looked up into the stands to check out the crowd before disappearing again behind the curtain.

"I love music that reminds me of the greatness of our country," Scott said before Greenwood broke into his anthemic hit. And he pledged to maintain a commitement to the military.  "The entire time we're going to be in office we're going to make sure the miltary is respected and honored and they get the benefits they deserve. And we're going to do everything we can to help military families."

In her remarks, Lt. Gov. Jennifer Carroll, noted that she served 20 years in the Navy, and Gov. Scott served four. "He does not outrank me. Until tomorrow," she joked.

"Today we're here to simply say thank-you. This is just oe of the events that we have this afternoon. And just one concert. But Rick and I, my partner as governor, hope you feel the love and appreciation in this arena for each and every one of you and your family members," she said. "We thank you from the bottom of our hearts."

Republican Sen. John Thrasher also addressed the crowd, praising Scott for always stopping by military institutions when he visited Jacksonville. "I know we're going to have a governor who believes in a strong military and I know we're going to have a governor who believes in the men and women who serve in that military," Thrasher said. "The needs of our military will be taken care of. We will be in the front lines to make sure you get the things you need and deserve."

Also in the audience of about 2,000 today were Attorney General-elect Pam Bondi and Senate President Mike Haridopolos.

[Last modified: Monday, January 3, 2011 4:37pm]


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