Civil War Trust Board Member
Trace Adkins was elected to the Board of Trustees of the Civil War Trust in July of 2011.
Despite the fame he has earned as a chart-topping singer-songwriter and finalist on the reality television series “Celebrity Apprentice,” Adkins became interested in Civil War history in the same way that generations of Americans have – through the stories of his ancestors passed down within the family.
“When I was a 13-year-old boy my grandfather sat me down one day. I guess he thought it was time for him to tell me what his grandfather had told him,” Adkins began. “His name was Henry T. Morgan and he was a private in the 31st Louisiana Infantry. He was wounded and taken prisoner at Vicksburg.”
That personal connection to history and the ardent desire to see it preserved stayed with Adkins over the years. It has spurred him to visit many of the hallowed battlegrounds of the war and reflect upon the epic sacrifices made there. Still, he said, one particular battlefield visit was particularly poignant.
“The first time I ever went to Vicksburg, I got to stand where I knew I was within 100 feet or so of where my great-great-grandfather was positioned in that battle. I knew because there’s a monument there and the trench is still there,” he told the crowd gathered at the press conference. “And you can look across that battlefield – it’s been preserved, it’s one of the success stories – and it still looks the way it looked when my great-great-grandfather was there. I can’t explain to you what a spiritual moment that was for me.”
In 2008, Trace Adkins was the featured speaker at the Civil War Trust's Most Endangered Battlefield news conference. Mr. Adkins, after the news conference at the National Press Club in Washington DC, laid a wreath at the Tomb of the Civil War Unknowns at Arlington National Cemetery.
The difference between a battle that is written about and taught to our children and one that is largely forgotten can be summed up in one word – preservation. —Trace Adkins
As a member of the Civil War Trust Board of Trustees, Trace Adkins hopes to lend his voice and energy to current and future Civil War battlefield preservation projects.
Trace Adkins was born in Sarepta, La., in January 1962 and developed an early interest in singing and playing the guitar. He went on to study at Louisiana Tech University, where he played football and sang in a gospel quartet. After graduation, he worked as a pipefitter on an oil rig. He lost the pinky finger on his left hand in an accident, and asked doctors to re-attach the finger at an angle so that he could continue to play guitar. He moved to Nashville in 1992 and worked construction while he sang at night in honky-tonks and looked for his break.
In 1995, Adkins was signed to Capitol Records and released his first studio album Dreamin’ Out Loud the next year. The album also included his first number one hit, “(This Ain’t) No Thinkin’ Thing.” Since then, he has produced a string of hits, including: "The Rest of Mine," "Hot Mama," "Rough & Ready," "Arlington," "Honky Tonk Badonkadonk," "Ladies Love Country Boys,” “I Got My Game On,” “You’re Gonna Miss This,” “All I Ask for Anymore.”
Adkins has been inducted into the Grand Ole Opry and has appeared on numerous television talk shows, as well as working extensively as a voiceover artist. In 2008, the video for “I Got My Game On” won the Country Music Television Music Award for Male Video of the Year; the next year “You’re Gonna Miss This” was named AMC Single of the Year. He has been nominated for four Grammy Awards since 2008, published a memoir titled A Personal Stand: Observations and Opinions from a Freethinking Roughneck. Adkins is familiar to television audiences from his runner-up performance on “Celebrity Apprentice,” as well as a recurring role on “King of the Hill.” He made his feature film debut in 2008’s An American Carol and has recently appeared in The Lincoln Lawyer.