MYSTIC, CT (WFSB ) — Award-winning entertainer Tony Orlando had a special personal message for middle school students in Mystic on Monday.
He told students of the Cutler Middle School to have a dream and give back to their community.
Orlando told Channel 3 that while he performed at the Mohegan Sun Arena the night before, he wasn’t nervous until he visited the students.
“Whatever happens to this country is in your hands,” Orlando said to them.
The singer, songwriter and producer said he’s faced audiences for nearly 60 years, but none were more important than students he called “our future.”
“It’s important that I give to the future of our country,” he said. “I’m talking to the future of our country. I’m looking at the future of America.”
America embraced Orlando and his signature song, Tie a Yellow Ribbon, in 1973 when troops came home from Vietnam, during Desert Storm and again during Desert Shield.
Ever since, the song has helped millions of veterans and those fighting for freedom.
“The moment a guy puts his name on that line and says ‘I’m now in the service,’ he’s saying ‘I’m now willing to die for you, neighbor.’ Automatic heroes,” Orlando said.
“He has worked tirelessly on behalf of our veterans and has performed for all our troops,” said Tessa Cantone of the Cutler Middle School.
Orlando’s message on Monday was “have a dream” and finish 8th grade, which is something he never did.
“How did I get there? With a dream,” he told students. “For those that don’t have a dream yet. You’re never too late.”
Orlando also briefly met with music students ahead of the assembly.
He also performed with the chorus.
“Work hard for your community and work hard for our military who put their lives on the line for us,” he said, “to have our butts on the floor like this and enjoy our future dreams.”