I heard an amazing song last night. "I Drive Your Truck" is a country hit inspired by a father whose son was killed while trying to rescue a wounded comrade in Afghanistan in 2006.
During a radio interview two years ago, Paul Monti (of Massachusetts) said he drove his son Jared's pickup truck to feel close to him. Nashville songwriter Connie Harrington heard the interview and, with two fellow songwriters, turned his thoughts into a touching, haunting ballad about loss and remembrance—I think it's actually about a grieving brother. Recorded by country singer Lee Brice, "I Drive Your Truck" topped the country charts last month.
One interesting angle: Connie Harrington had scribbled down Paul Monti's words but couldn't remember his name, and it took months before the songwriters tracked him down and explained that he had inspired the song.
Last night, as I was driving to an event, I heard Harrington and Monti on National Public Radio and got immediately choked up, both by their emotion and the song itself. Judging from the comments people have posted online, "I Drive Your Truck" has resonated with many veterans and military families. It resonated with me, too.
Incidentally, I wrote about Sgt. 1st Class Jared Monti in 2009, when President Obama awarded him a posthumous Medal of Honor for his bravery in Afghanistan:
SEPTEMBER 17, 2009
A soldier's fitting tribute
Today, President Obama will award the Medal of Honor to the late Sgt. Jared C. Monti, who braved enemy fire to rescue an injured soldier during an ambush in mountainous Afghanistan three years ago. The Army veteran was 30 years old. This is reportedly only the sixth time that this medal -- the highest U.S. military award for bravery -- has been bestowed since Sept. 11, 2001. It seems like a fitting goodbye for Sgt. Monti.
I was moved by the Boston Globe's account of Sgt. Monti's valor, humility, and selflessness earlier this month; you can find the article here.
You can also hear about the treacherous battle on National Public Radio.