In the past few years, I’ve received a couple of very sweet letters from Dierks Bentley’s mother, Cathy, thanking me for stories I’ve written about her boy. But, unfortunately, I never had an opportunity to communicate with Dierks’ dad, Leon, who died Friday in Phoenix at age 88. Yet even though I never met Mr. Bentley, I know he had at least a couple of things in common with his son. He loved his country and he loved his family.
Dierks, a long-time supporter of America’s men and women in uniform, discussed the first of those areas of commonality during a recent GAC Memorial Day guest spot. The appearance came on the heels of Dierks latest No. 1 hit for “Home,” his wonderful tribute to America. While on GAC the young singer talked about his dad’s time in the service. “My dad was a second lieutenant in the army,” Dierks proudly said. “It’s amazing, he served in World War II, he was in Japan . . . What a feeling that must be that I will never know, to put on that uniform, American flag patch on your shoulder, and you’re out there literally fighting for the flag, fighting with your brothers next to you and for everyone back home. We can never really honestly have a sense of how that feels, but certainly we can honor them.”
Back in 2008, Dierks—now a father of two daughers—talked about his dad during our interview about Dierks’ long-time love of the outdoors. “I never did the Boy Scouts or Cub Scouts or anything, but every year my family would go to a place called Lake Powell, which is a big lake in northern Arizona. It’s a huge lake, probably one of the biggest lakes in the west.
“We’d take a small boat out and camp out for seven or eight days at a time, wouldn’t really see anybody for a week. It’d be great. My dad was really good at all that stuff as far as everything camping-related goes—from cookin’ to settin’ stuff up to sleepin’ out under the stars every night. I have great memories and that’s somethin’ I want to pass down one day.” Those memories and countless others are surely even more precious today.
Nashville.com sends heartfelt sympathies to Dierks and his family.
Photo: Courtesy of Twitter.com/DierksBentley