Thursday, Sept. 28, 2017 | 3:20 p.m.
John Fogerty, whose music helped define the late 1960s and early 1970s and the resistance to the Vietnam War, said he always understood people who hated the war, but he couldn’t comprehend why they hated the soldiers who fought in it.
“I used to talk to some of my acquaintances back in the day,” Fogerty said. “I was a young rock ’n’ roller and I would see people protesting the soldiers, and I’d always raise the question, ‘Don’t you think it’s a little odd? You’re 23 years old and the guy you’re yelling at is 23 years old, and he probably feels the same way as you do about this stinking war.’”
Fogerty’s sentiment was shaped, no doubt, by his time in the Army National Guard. Though never sent overseas, he spent several years in uniform — a few of them on active duty — just prior to his breakout success as frontman and songwriter for Creedence Clearwater Revival.
Fogerty was at the groundbreaking today for a new crisis intervention center and memorial at Veterans Village east of downtown Las Vegas.
“Think of it,” he said. “Humanly, how can anyone be against veterans? It’s inconceivable. These are the people that defend our country and defend our rights in ways most of us probably couldn’t come up with or even understand. There’s bravery and heroism there.”
Fogerty has donated money and time to the crisis center, and during the groundbreaking ceremony, he sang a new song he wrote with country star Brad Paisley, as well as a Creedence hit that became an anti-war standard, “Fortunate Son.”
More than 100 businesses and trade groups donated $1 million in material and labor to the project.
The plan is to have the 3,500-square-foot center finished and open on Veterans Day. It will provide on-site mental, physical and social services for veterans.
Veterans Village provides transitional and permanent housing for veterans, as well as other services such as mental health care, employment training, job referrals and placements, a food pantry and nutrition programs, and transportation to the VA Hospital and primary care clinics.
In an interview before the groundbreaking, Fogerty, who plays in residency at the Wynn Las Vegas, talked about what it’s like to be an artist know for roots-based music playing nightly in Las Vegas.
“Probably 40 years ago, when I was a young rock ’n’ roll rebel, Elvis was in Vegas and he was so handsome and beautiful and glamorous, and most of us rock ’n’ rollers were anti-that, almost on purpose — the iconic model being the Grateful Dead. Everyone was trying to look all ... disheveled and all the rest.”
But despite the glitz and glamour of Las Vegas, Fogerty said, people know what they’re getting when they go to his shows.
“My name is on the door, so they’re really the same people who back me in Pennsylvania or wherever they’re from; they’re listening to that music.”