(WASHINGTON) — Gen. Martin Dempsey, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, was a guest speaker at Friday’s 21st annual TAPS National Military Survivor Seminar and Good Grief Camp for Young Survivors — and he sung his heart out.
“I love the fact that you’re here but I hate the way you got here,” Dempsey said to the parents at the event in Arlington, Virginia. “I love the fact that you gather once a year and can find solace with each other and friendship with each other and camaraderie with each other.”
Parents were treated to his rendition of “Keep Up Your Head” by Andy Grammer.
For the kids: “The Unicorn Song.”
Dempsey, along with other military officers, also did a medley of Disney songs, including “Let It Go” from Frozen and “You Got a Friend in Me” from Toy Story. (Disney is the parent company of ABC News).
This is Dempsey’s fifth year in a row participating — and he always sings.
“That’s become my thing with the kids,” Dempsey said, explaining that it’s easier for him to “sing with emotion … than speak with emotion.”
“I didn’t have a family background in the military but I think that my mom and dad always thought that I should challenge myself. So when I got accepted to West Point, I actually didn’t want to go at all,” Dempsey said. “I went home to talk to my mother about it … and she really wanted me to go to West Point. And I kept fighting it off and finally she burst into tears. And I said, you know what, I can’t do that to my mother. So here I am 44 years later. So be careful of your mothers.”
According to its website, TAPS, the Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors, offers support to families and friends of military members who died in service.
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