Many people fail to realize the true importance and the difference between Veteran's Day and Memorial Day. While both are days to celebrate the freedoms our soldiers have earned for us, Memorial Day is about honoring those who have given the ultimate sacrifice to give us the many privileges we have today. Here are a few songs to honor our fallen soldiers this Memorial Day.
'American Soldier' by Toby Keith, 2003
"I don't wanna die for you/ But if dying's asked of me/ I will bear that cross with honor/ 'Cause freedom don't come free"
This song will always be my go-to song when it comes to military songs. Toby Keith perfectly captures the feelings of every soldier when they go off to war- leaving behind their families and facing the dangers head on knowing full well that they may not come home. Countless soldiers have and will continue to give their lives protecting our country and this song is a reminder of everything soldiers sacrifice in their line of duty.
'Some Gave All' by Billy Ray Cyrus, 1992
"Some stood through for the red, white, and blue/ And some had to fall"
Billy Ray Cyrus perfectly put into words the sacrifices made by soldiers who go to war to protect our country. Everybody gives some portion of themselves in battle and no soldier comes back from overseas the same. However, there are many forgotten soldiers who have given the ultimate sacrifice to defend our nation and everything it stands for and we must remember that. This ballad gives a strong message that should be echoing around the country this Memorial Day.
'If You're Reading This' by Tim McGraw, 2007
"I'm layin down my gun/ Hanging up my boots/ Tell dad I don't regret that I followed in his shoes"
Never will I not cry when I listen to this song. Written in the point of view of a fallen soldier, Tim McGraw's ballad shows just everything a soldier says goodbye to when he lays down his life. The lyrics talk to the soldiers parents, telling them not to be sad and that his soul is home, as well as his wife and unborn daughter to whom he wishes the best for. Always one of the songs that hits close to home.
'Arlington' by Trace Adkins, 2005
"And every time I hear twenty-one guns/ I know they brought another hero home to us"
Yet another tearjerker. This song centers around a soldier who lost his life in battle and was buried in Arlington, the national military cemetery, where the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier is located. The soldier reminiscences on the way his parents cried presented with his flag, and the way he and his dad searched for his grandfather's grave here when they were kids. His father told him that this was the sacrifice of freedom, and the subject of the song is proud that he is one of the "chosen ones."
'Courtesy of the Red, White, and Blue' by Toby Keith, 2002
"My daddy served in the Army/ Where he lost his right eye/ But he flew a flag out in our yard/ 'Till the day that he died"
I adore this song because not only does it honor our fallen soldiers, but it's the upbeat chorus and prideful lyrics could instill a sense of patriotism in even the most unpatriotic. It talks about how the USA will never fail to retaliate when someone threatens our peace and security, as we've done countless times.
In the words of Toby Keith, "we'll put a boot in your ass/ it's the American way."
'Travelin' Soldier' by Dixie Chicks, 2003
"Don't worry but I won't be able to write for a while"
This song sits really close to home for me because it talks about a young high school girl who falls in love with a newly enlisted soldier, and how their love continues to grow even when he's overseas. Everybody tells her that she's too young to be waiting around for a soldier but she holds on hope anyways, even when his letters stop coming. In the bridge of the song, we find out that the soldier dies in the war in Vietnam and her waiting for her soldier to return takes on a much more sad meaning,
'I Drive Your Truck' by Lee Brice, 2012
"Hey, man I'm trying to be tough/ And momma asked me this morning if I'd been by your grave/ But that flag and stone ain't where I feel you anyway"
A newer song yet still a gem, Lee Brice tells how he copes with the loss of his brother. He talks about driving his brother's truck to feel close to him again, using this source of comfort to drown the pain of his loss. He leaves his brother's things in the truck, like his dog tags, cowboy boots, and Go Army shirt, keeping the relics of his brother close after saying goodbye in his own way.
'Just A Dream' by Carrie Underwood,
"And the guns rang one last shot/ And it felt like a bullet in her heart"
Another song about a dead lover, Carrie Underwood focuses on the fear of lovers and spouses of military personnel feel whenever their loved one is away at war. She talks about a girl, fresh into womanhood preparing to marry her lover before finding out that he died in the war. Her wedding then turns into a funeral as "reality" hits her but then comforts herself by saying the entire scenario is a dream. However, Underwood was able to capture the fear of every military spouse that they could lose their loved one at any given moment.