Billy Ray Cyrus Pays Tribute to Slain Nevada Teacher, Calling Him a 'True American Hero'

Pam WrightLife

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Billy Ray Cyrus payed tribute Saturday to a Nevada teacher who was killed by a 12-year-old student in an October 2013 shooting incident.

Calling Michael Landsberry a "true American hero," the Achy Breaky Heart singer honored the Reno middle school teacher and ex-Marine during a concert Saturday night.

"Tonight we are here to honor a true American hero," Cyrus told the audience. "Michael Landsberry made the ultimate sacrifice to save his students after serving three terms in Afghanistan."

Cyrus said Landsberry represented the courage of the Vietnam veteran he refers to in his song, Some Gave All. He then led the audience in a sing-along of the song.

The country singer also presented a memorial plaque and "financial gift" to his widow, Sharon.

During that fateful day in October, Landsberry tried to persuade the shooter to turn the gun over, but the student shot him in the chest instead. The pre-teen also wounded two classmates before taking his own life.

Left to grieve the fallen hero are his wife and two daughters, Alisa Cook, 25, and Andrea Cook, 18. Thanking Cyrus, Landsberry's widow said, "We all love him today. ... He lives within all of us."

Cyrus and his father, Ronald Ray Cyrus, who died in 2006, made similar presentations honoring American heroes for more than a decade. Saturday's presentation marks the first time Cyrus has continued the tradition since his father's death.

"Just about every year, my dad and I would find an unsung hero and present them with a 'Some Gave All' award. I kind of play everything by ear, and I thought sometime when the time is right, I would love to recognize the sacrifice Michael made," Cyrus told the Associated Press.

Cyrus works with a program called Do the Write Thing, which tries to reduce school violence by encouraging the public to alert authorities to potential problems at schools.

Image via Wikimedia Commons

Pam Wright