Veteran Shows Her Appreciation By Singing The National Anthem
By Chris Reber
July 01, 2013 - 12:00 AM
Pocono Record Writer
Most singers would be nervous about performing the national anthem before 40,000 people. But for Coast Guard Chief Kristine Rommel of Effort, singing the national anthem in uniform before huge crowds is easier than singing before one person.
Rommel says singing is a way to serve others, whether it's military veterans or people coping with addiction.
"When I sing for veterans, they're so appreciative," she said. "It means a lot to me."
Rommel started singing at sports events about 15 years ago. She found confidence in the fact that she was representing the military, specifically women in uniform.
"I love that I can represent the Coast Guard in that way and women in the military. It's kind of a powerful feeling doing that."
Over dozens of performances, she has crafted her own style: acapella, with a little embellishment.
"It's not really a show. It's making people feel something," she said.
But recently, she has had to turn down some requests to sing the anthem. Her schedule is just too full with a job at Morgan Stanley, commitment to the Coast Guard, her husband working as a New York steamfitter, and two kids at home — Nicholas, 11, and Lucas, 9.
Her sons join her at most performances.
"I love my children seeing what I'm doing. It's all about mentoring them to strive for anything and everything they can do."
Rommel puts just as much significance into her pop songs. Her most recent single, "The Storm," is based on a poem she wrote as a teenager to help people coping with addiction.
Growing up on Long Island, Rommel said addiction affected many people around her — close friends, foster family members and her own mother.
When her mother died in 2010, Rommel, still haunted by that addiction, was ready to share the song with the public.
"After she passed and I had the opportunity to work with this producer, I had a chance to do this because it was very important to me," she said. "It's a song that I hope will help other people."