May 29, 2022, Charlotte, NC:
The Coca-Cola 600 NASCAR Cup Series race is held at Charlotte Motor Speedway in Charlotte, North Carolina Sunday, May 29, 2022.  
(Photo by Billie Weiss/Charlotte Motor Speedway)
May 29, 2022, Charlotte, NC: The Coca-Cola 600 NASCAR Cup Series race is held at Charlotte Motor Speedway in Charlotte, North Carolina Sunday, May 29, 2022. (Photo by Billie Weiss/Charlotte Motor Speedway)

Lt. Gen. Christopher T. Donahue to deliver the State of Freedom address during Coca-Cola 600 pre-race

On the eve of Memorial Day, this weekend’s historic running of the Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway will once again pay tribute to the men and women of the U.S. Armed Forces with a rousing tribute featuring representation from all six branches. Fans will be treated to aerial and ground demonstrations, moving musical performances and more as part of the patriotic pre-race salute.

Lt. Gen. Christopher T. Donahue, a highly decorated United States Army officer, is set to deliver the State of Freedom Address prior to Sunday’s showcase of speed. With more than 30 years of service, Donahue has held numerous leadership positions. He is currently the commanding general of the XVIII Airborne Corps out of Fort Bragg. Outside of military circles, he may be best known as the last international military personnel to leave Afghanistan during America’s military withdrawal from the country in August of 2021.

In a show of unity among the nation’s military branches Donahue will be joined on stage during the address by Capt. Andrew C. Hertel (U.S. Navy), Maj. Gen. Michael G. Koscheski (U.S. Air Force) and Capt. Richard E. Batson (U.S. Coast Guard).

Other military elements scheduled as part of the pre-race salute include:

  • 82nd Airborne Band: perform God Bless America, America the Beautiful, Carolina on my Mind
  • S. Army, Fort Bragg: Aerial Blackhawk demonstration, Howitzer demonstration
  • Armed Forces Color Guard and drummers from the United States Army Band “Pershing’s Own”: Presentation of Colors
  • S. Army Chaplain Stephen F. Townsend: Invocation
  • S. Navy Ceremonial Guard: Small Arms Volley
  • S. Coast Guard Band; Musician Petty Officer First Class (MU1) Joel W. Baroody: Taps
  • S. Marine Corps, 2nd Aircraft MC Band: National Anthem

In addition, a service member will be paired with each driver in the starting lineup for driver introductions on the pre-race stage.

— Charlotte Motor Speedway —