To some, Memorial Day may simply be a day off of work, or the unofficial start of summer, but to the men and women who serve our country and are stationed around the world it means much more.
Memorial Day is a federal holiday that honors soldiers and is observed on the last Monday of May. Formerly known as Decoration Day, it commemorates U.S. soldiers who died while in the military service. First enacted to honor Union and Confederate soldiers following the American Civil War, it was extended after World War I to honor Americans who have died in all wars.
In honor of Memorial Day, check out these songs that salute our troops:
Trace Adkins – “Arlington”
And I’m proud to be on this peaceful piece of property / I’m on sacred ground and I’m in the best of company / And I’m thankful for those thankful for the things I’ve done / I can rest in peace, I’m one of the chosen ones / I made it to Arlington.
Big & Rich – “8th of November”
He said goodbye to his mamma / As he left South Dakota / To fight for the Red, White, and Blue. / He was nineteen and green with a new M-16 / Just doing what he had to do.
Tim McGraw – “If You’re Reading This”
If you’re readin’ this / Half way around the world / I won’t be there to see the birth of our little girl / I hope she looks like you / I hope she fights like me / And stands up for the innocent and the weak / I’m layin’ down my gun, I’m hanging up my boots / Tell dad I don’t regret that I followed in his shoes
Billy Ray Cyrus – “Some Gave All”
All gave some and some gave all / And some stood through for the red, white and blue / And some had to fall / And if you ever think of me / Think of all your liberties and recall / Some gave all
Toby Keith – “American Soldier”
An American Soldier an American / Beside my brothers and my sisters, I will proudly take a stand / When liberty’s in jeopardy, I will always do what’s right / I’m out here on the front lines, sleep in peace tonight / American Soldier, I’m an American, an American, an American, Soldier.
Johnny Cash – “The Ballad of Ira Hayes”
They battled up Iwo Jima’s hill two hundred and fifty men/ but only twenty seven lived to walk back down again.
Alan Jackson – “Where Were You When The World Stopped Turning”
Alan Jackson has a few thoughts on the success of this song. “I felt like everybody did, all that was going on in the months following (referring to 9/11). . . people re-thinking their lives and what was important to them. . .” Listen to the rest of what Alan has to say below.
Watch a performance of the song here.
This powerful song from Alan Jackson recaps the emotions felt just after September 11th and the immense show of support for our troops, which has continued on since that day: Did you burst out in pride for the red, white and blue / And the heroes who died just doin’ what they do? / Did you look up to heaven for some kind of answer / And look at yourself and what really matters?
Brooks & Dunn – “Only In America”
Thanks to all the US troops, the lyrics of this song afford us the freedom that we share everyday: Yeah only in America / Where we dream in red, white and blue / Yeah we dream as big as we want to
Toby Keith – “Courtesy of the Red, White, and Blue”
The lyrics to this Toby Keith hit song from 2002 says it all, American girls and American guys / We’ll always stand up and salute / We’ll always recognize / When we see old glory flying / There’s a lot of men dead / So we can sleep in peace at night / When we lay down our head
Lee Greenwood – “God Bless The USA”
This song was the anthem for a nation in mourning on September 11th and its aftermath and continues to echo the sentiments of Americans who are brought together to support the troops and their country.
– Steve Wiseman, 99.5 WYCD Detroit