HUNTERSVILLE, N.C. - June 29, 2010 – The version of “The Star Spangled Banner” performed by Cpl. John Hyland at the Coca-Cola 600 over Memorial Day weekend will be available as a free download to Sprint Customers, it was announced today by Sprint (NYSE:S).
Starting Tuesday, June 29, Sprint customers can download the song from the Sprint® Music StoreSM on their music enabled devices. The song is available for free with any data plan under the Free Songs folder. A casual data charge of $.03/kb will apply if customers do not have a data plan.
Cpl. Hyland, who attended the North Carolina School of the Arts, sang opera as an understudy for Phantom of the Opera in New York and performed at the Opera Festival di Roma in Italy, joined the U.S. Army when he was 33 years old. He trained to be a scout, an elite position performing reconnaissance and enemy intelligence gathering. On a mission near Baghdad on Sept. 11, 2007, Hyland was severely wounded when his team’s vehicle ran over two anti-tank bombs. He was literally blown up -- from shattered heels to shattered shoulder blades. (The medic and three soldiers who rescued him were killed four days later.) Hyland endured 33 operations and had his lower left leg amputated.
Cpl. Hyland’s story is told in the new book, The Weekend Starts on Wednesday: True Stories of Remarkable NASCAR Fans. His chapter, “A Purple Heart and a Titanium Leg,” concludes with author Andrew Giangola vowing to help the army veteran renew his passion for opera and pursue a singing career by performing the National Anthem at a NASCAR event.
When presented the opportunity, Coca-Cola and Charlotte Motor Speedway were glad to oblige. Hyland’s rendition of the National Anthem concluded the Let Freedom Race Coca-Cola 600 pre-race show on May 30.
“It’s hard to describe what a profound experience singing the National Anthem on Memorial Day weekend and now having the performance available to fans through Sprint has been for me,” Cpl Hyland said. “It was more than an honor to walk onto that stage on my own two legs to deliver the anthem to millions of fellow race fans. I was very proud to represent the Army, my country, my family, Charlotte and wounded soldiers everywhere. I believe events in our lives happen for a reason. My injuries provide the opportunity to hit the reset button in life. With Sprint’s help, I’m hoping to start a new singing and motivational speaking career.”
“Sprint has a long history of supporting the men and women of the military serving us selflessly and often with great sacrifice,” said Steve Gaffney, Vice President for Corporate Marketing at Sprint. “Cpl. Hyland is a genuine American hero, and we are very proud to make his heartfelt version of our National Anthem available to Sprint customers. We hope people will download his performance and listen each Memorial Day.”
The legendary songwriters L. Russell Brown and Roger Cooke got in touch with Cpl. Hyland after reading his story inThe Weekend Starts on Wednesday. Cpl. Hyland is now planning on recording Brown's classic “Tie a Yellow Ribbon around the Old Oak Tree.” The songwriting team is also composing several new songs for him.
About Sprint Nextel
Sprint Nextel offers a comprehensive range of wireless and wireline communications services bringing the freedom of mobility to consumers, businesses and government users. Sprint Nextel served more than 48 million customers at the end of the first quarter of 2010 and is widely recognized for developing, engineering and deploying innovative technologies, and the first and only wireless 4G service from a national carrier in the United States; offering industry-leading mobile data services, leading prepaid brands including Virgin Mobile USA, Boost Mobile and Assurance Wireless and instant national and international push-to-talk capabilities; and a global Tier 1 Internet backbone. With its customer-focused strategy, you can learn more and visit Sprint at www.sprint.com or www.facebook.com/sprint andwww.twitter.com/sprint.