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Toby Keith Taught His Daughter To “Never Apologize For Being Patriotic”

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Following the passing of country music legend Toby Keith, fans around the country raised their red solo cups in his honor. The singer gave the nation a sprawling discography of celebrated hits, and to his daughter Krystal, Keith imparted her with a lesson on being unapologetically patriotic.

Keith died on February 5 at the age of 62, following a prolonged battle with stomach cancer. He is survived by wife Tricia Lucus, as well as their three children: Stelen, Shelley, and fellow singer Krystal, who just turned 38 last autumn. True to the fashion of the “Courtesy of the Red, White and Blue,” he told Krystal to never be abashed by her love of country.

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Toby Keith and the University of Oklahoma meant a great deal to one another

Earlier this month, Krystal spoke at the University of Oklahoma’s commencement ceremony while accepting an honorary degree on Keith’s behalf. There, she shared what she learned from her father, who, like the rest of her family, always held UO close to his heart. Keith had actually been told about the distinction he was to receive last autumn but would pass away before the ceremony.

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RELATED: Toby Keith Honored With Stunning Tribute Performance At 2024 CMT Awards

“When he learned last fall that he was being inducted to Sooner Nation on this high of a level, he was so excited, and he was so proud,” shared Krystal. “I actually made a joke about how many hours I spent here getting my bachelor’s degree, and he joked that he didn’t have to work that hard to get his,” she added.

Krystal continued, “But we all know he earned it and spent many more hours dedicating his life to earning it this way. He loved his family (he loved all of us), God, our country, and Sooner Nation.”

In fact, going all in, completely and utterly, with a person’s whole heart and soul, was a value Keith wanted to embody and exemplify.

Toby Keith taught his daughter Krystal to never be apologetic when it comes to being patriotic

Toby Keith told his daughter Krystal to never be apologetic when it came to being patriotic / ©Roadside Attractions/courtesy Everett Collection

“Throughout his life and career, he made sure to work hard to have the best, to be the best,” Krystal went on. “They may write better than me, they may sing better than me, and they may look better than me, but they will NEVER outwork me.’ And that made all the difference. He was a larger-than-life legend, he was an icon, he did things his own way, his songs inspired nearly everyone in country music and beyond.”

Fellow music artist Krystal / Laura Farr/AdMedia

Keith wrote “Courtesy of the Red, White and Blue” in late 2001, following the attacks on September 11 and further driven by the death of his father, a United States Army veteran, earlier that year. Upon the release of “Courtesy of the Red, White and Blue,” Keith was inundated with emotional reactions from fans, ranging from tears to passionate fist-pumping.

“He always said, ‘Never apologize for being patriotic,'” recited Krystal at the ceremony. “and practiced what he preached through his work with the USO.” From 2002 to 2013, Keith embarked on 11 USO tours, visiting 15 countries and three naval ships to perform for the troops. It’s something that “angry American” would never apologize for, with great pride.

Toby Keith repeatedly toured with the USO / ImageCollect

RELATED: Toby Keith’s Wife Cried The Whole Time He Sang “Don’t Let The Old Man In”

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