The hundreds of Eastern redbud trees with their trinkets and mementos to the soldiers they memorialize moved James Rogers during a visit to Fort Stewart's hallowed grove.
The veteran performer, struck by the power of the memorial grove known as Warriors Walk, within months of his visit last year penned a song inspired by the trees and the fallen 3rd Infantry Division soldiers each one represents.
"It just tugged at my heart," Rogers said.
"I felt like I had to write the tune, and honestly, I just hope it will be used in some way to honor those we've lost and their loved ones left behind."
During his show Nov. 2 at Armstrong Atlantic State University Fine Arts Auditorium, Rogers will publicly premiere the song inspired by hundreds of Savannah-area soldiers who have fallen on the battlefields of Iraq and Afghanistan over the last 10-plus years.
The Savannah show, Rogers' second to benefit the Wounded Warrior Project, will feature many of the tunes he sang as a Dollywood performer for more than 30 years.
It will also feature his own brand of clean, family friendly comedy.
"I don't just show up and sing songs," Rogers said.
"It's a one-person show, but it doesn't come off that way. There'll be huge video screens with images, pictures and movies that enhance the telling of a story, and I interject quite a bit of humor - at least what I think of as humor - and I hope the audience thinks it's funny."
A veteran of the Tennessee Army National Guard himself, Rogers hopes to appeal to current and former troops and is offering free admission to the 7 p.m. performance to active duty military. Tickets for civilians will cost $15.
"They are all heroes in my eyes," Rogers said of those serving today. "Anyone who serves and puts their lives on the line for our country are heroes. They're willing to do that for me, so that I can be free.
"I just hope that I can give a little back to those great men and women, and that they'll come out and enjoy my show."