KISS’ Gene Simmons Emotionally Addresses The Pentagon: ‘Every time my mother saw the flag, she would start crying’
KISS lead singer Gene Simmons held a tearful press conference at the Pentagon to promote military service Thursday. He spoke of the patriotism of his mother, who recently died at the age of 93. She was only 14 when she was put in a Nazi concentration camp.
Simmons spoke emotionally about what the country meant to his mother, and to himself.
Simmons’ “choked back tears” as he discussed his mother, Florence Klein (originally Flóra Kovács), who survived internment in Nazi concentration camps.
He said she cried every time she saw the flag of the United States.
The visit brought a crowd of defense personnel to the Pentagon briefing room, where briefings have become sparse and defense officials now rarely go on camera to address reporter questions.
‘I’m the proud son of a concentration camp survivor in Nazi Germany. My mother was 14 when she was in the camps. I’m measuring my words because I am about to break up again.” Simmons said tearfully.
“My mother just passed at 93. But…[long pause] almost there, 10 second control. If Americans could see and hear my mother talk about America…they would understand.”
Simmons continued, “When we first came to America, my mother let me stay up and watch TV with her, and I couldn’t speak English very well. My mother could barely get by. She worked six days a week and at night, we would watch the news and whatever. By 12AM, the three or four television stations would go off the air, and it would go off the air….”
“… We would see a jet going across the sky, and a man in a very deep voice would sing something, I couldn’t understand it, and the jet then turned skyward, and flew, seemingly into the heavens, through the clouds.”
“The flag was full screen, billowing. And I heard, da da da da da da …you know, the National Anthem. I didn’t know what it was or what was going on and it was almost time to go to sleep. It was late. And every time…[choked up again] …uh…Every time my mother saw the flag, she would start crying.”
“As an eight year old boy, I did not understand…why. But from my mother’s point of view, we were finally safe…”
“Take my word for it, America, is the promised land!” Simmons concluded.
Simmons was born in Israel, which in the Bible is referred to as The Promised Land.
What a beautiful tribute!
@genesimmons graciously came to the Pentagon press room today to shake hands and say thank you to troops. He spoke about the values his mother instilled in him about America. So in the last year, the leader of @KISSOnline and @GerardButler…..who else should show up soon…… pic.twitter.com/pmU4562Wad
— Barbara Starr (@barbarastarrcnn) May 16, 2019
Simmons was promoting military service as part of the Pentagon’s public relations push #Knowyourmil, which seeks to expand public knowledge of the Defense Department’s mission and potential military career paths. It is a top priority as the number of people eligible to serve continues to fall, due to weight, fitness, behavioral or other issues.
“Most of America doesn’t think of it (military service) until something bad happens,” Simmons said.
He took time to fist-bump and take photos with a long line of service members and defense personnel eager to meet him.
What a great guy. He has truly lived the American dream, something I am sure his mother never imagined after coming to America. In fact, in that camp, she most likely never even comprehended she would reach motherhood.
Mr. Simmons, you are my hero, and yes, America truly is the promised land!
You can watch simmons speak here.