VALLEY CENTER, Kan. -- Former prisoner of war Pfc. Patrick Miller got a huge surprise at a parade and rally in his honor Saturday -- courtesy of country star Toby Keith.
Miller, who enjoyed irritating his Iraqi captors by singing Keith's "Courtesy of the Red White & Blue," was reluctantly persuaded to strike up the tune with three school buddies during the homecoming in his childhood hometown.
They were cut off by Bobby Massey, pastor of Valley Center Assembly of God, who told them, "I think it would be better if we got someone who knows how to sing it."
Then Miller watched incredulously as Keith emerged from the crowd and strode up to the platform to sing the popular song. The crowd roared whenever Keith stepped back and let Miller sing a few choice lines in the song. Miller blinked back tears.
Keith said it was an easy decision to make the appearance in the town north of Wichita. "After finding out he was singing the 'Red White and Blue' to the Iraqis -- how can you say no?" he said.
Afterward, Keith presented Miller with the guitar he had played.
Keith quickly left after playing the song, telling reporters later he did not want to take the spotlight away from Miller. He later joined the soldier for a private lunch.
Miller was one of seven soldiers rescued April 13 when Iraqi forces abandoned their posts ahead of advancing American troops. At the rally, he asked the crowd of roughly 2,000 to keep thinking of the troops still in Iraq.
"We still have people fighting, people are still going over there," he said. "Some will come home, some might not come home. We don't know yet. So please keep them in your thoughts," he said.