Home ANS Feature Fernando Ortega Remembers Charlie Daniels

Fernando Ortega Remembers Charlie Daniels

by Brian Nixon

ALBUQUERQUE, NEW MEXICO (ANS)—Dove Award-winning Christian musician, Fernando Ortega, remembers Charlie Daniels.

Charlie-Daniels-press-by-Erick-Anderson-2019-Billboard.

Ortega states, “I met Mr. Daniels at a Billy Graham Crusade back in 2001, shortly after the World Trade Center attacks. It was a surreal scene, singing for over 40,000 people who were uneasy about being in such a crowded space so soon after the horror we witnessed on TV.

Fernando Ortega. Photo credit: Jeff LeFever.

“From the stage I could see an AWAC plane flying overhead, and I could see several SWAT team officers stationed on top of the stadium overhang. I think I sang four songs that day with my fantastic band mates.  When I exited the stage, Charlie Daniels came up to say hello. I remember him being somewhat of a giant. When he bear-hugged me, I was lifted clean off the ground for several seconds. It was a funny moment and my band got a kick out of seeing my legs dangling back and forth while Charlie hugged me and said kind things about my songs. Mr. Daniel’s set that day was upbeat and energy-filled, and the crowd loved him. I’m grateful for the very brief chance I got to meet him.

“May he rest in peace, and may God bring comfort to his family.”

Born October 28th, 1936 in Wilmington, North Carolina, Daniels died on July 6, 2020 of a hemorrhagic stroke at the age of 83. Known for his hugely successful country hit The Devil Went Down to Georgia, Daniels was inducted into the Grand Ole Opry in 2008 and the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2016.

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