To Cher with Love

Just got home after seven concerts in eight days, including Italy. Did I bite off more than I can chew? It was a lot, but it's so satisfying to be making music. The older songs, of course, are what the audience is there for, but doing at least four songs from AT THIS TIME, trying to make my point about how I feel with this administration, is important to me. Good news: Still nobody has thrown anything at me - or walked out - yet.

I want to salute Cher, who has all my respect and my love for not only what she has done, but the way she has done it. Her campaign for "Operation Helmet" - done quietly and putting the cause, not herself, out front - is great. She has chosen this issue of trying to eliminate any more of the head and brain injuries our military in Iraq sustains by explosive devices because their helmets aren't good enough to protect them. "Operation Helmet" is a non-profit public service organization that provides our troops with upgrade kits to make their helmets safer.

For some soldiers, it is too late. Some have suffered brain damage and other serious injuries because their U.S. military-issued equipment isn't effective enough to protect our young men and women. Cher tells us the fact that most of these injuries are happening to the Marines because their helmets don't have proper padding. Also, their helmets are often too loose, leaving them vulnerable to even more head injuries. The military is fighting for us, and Cher is fighting for them. It's hard to believe that private citizens need to provide helmet upgrade kits, but it's necessary and being done. Cher's support has brought badly-needed attention to the situation, and every day more soldiers are being equipped with better helmet padding.

Shockingly, the Marine Corps is still studying the "feasibility" of whether this is a good idea. In the meantime, families and friends of those brave Marines are buying padding and sending it to these kids in Iraq while the Marine brass decide whether it is a good idea.

What the hell is this? Cher's support is featured on the web a donation site and it is full of useful information. She went before Congress recently to make the case. She called in to C-SPAN, trying to be anonymous to bring attention to the need, not to her celebrity. She donated a lot of money herself. I like the way you discovered the cause and effectively put it out there, Cher. I respect and love you for it.

Cher and I did not start off on the best foot years ago. She was the first to record "Alfie," and I disapproved of the way her version was done. She knew how I felt then. Happily, all of that has been long forgiven and forgotten.

With love and respect,