If there was only one thing that all Americans had in common, it would be an intense patriotism and love for the country they call home. Together as a nation, we band against our enemies that would love to destroy us. Together,. we display our pride through the American Flag. And together, we lower those flags to half-staff when others we may not even know are mourning during a time of tragedy.
Memorial Day is one of the days we designate each year to the memory of those who served to fight for our freedom, but never got to make it home and see it happen. To celebrate this Memorial Day, here are the top ten songs that both honor the memories of those we lost, as well as the patriotism that keeps us strong:
10. “Only in America,” by Brooks and Dunn; 2001
A patriotic song about the ability Americans have to not only dream, but to “dream as big as they want to.” From a school bus full of children, to a newlywed couple, everyone has the ability to dream, and make their dreams into reality.
Patriotic Lyric: “Only in America, where we dream in red, white and blue. Only in America, where we dream as big as we want to. We all get a chance, everybody gets to dance, only in America.”
9. “Home,” by Dierks Bentley; 2011
Inspired by the 2011 shooting in Arizona that killed six and critically injured U.S. Representative Gabby Giffords, the song was Bentley and the other two writers attempt to make sense of the tragedy.
Patriotic Lyric: “Land, blessed mother land, the place where I was born. Scars, she’s got her scars, Sometimes it starts to worry me. Cause lose, I don’t want to lose, sight of who we are.”
8. “Some Gave All,” by Billy Ray Cyrus; 1992
The song, a single off of Cyrus’s debut album of the same name, the song is about the ultimate sacrifices of war.
Patriotic Lyric: “I can’t forget the look in his eyes or the tears he cries, as he says these words to me. 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.”
7. “Where Were You (When the World Stopped Turning),” by Alan Jackson; 2001
Dedicated to 9/11, this song questions where people’s reactions to the senseless tragedies that occurred on that infamous day.
Patriotic Lyric: “Where were you when the world stopped turning on that September day? Were you in the yard with your wife and children, or working on some stage in L.A.? Did you stand there in shock at the sight of that black smoke risin’ against that blue sky?”
6. “If You’re Reading This,” by Tim McGraw; 2007
This incredibly sad song serves as a tribute to the families of soldiers who have died in the line of duty, taking the form of a parent reading the letter written by a soldier, but only if they died during war.
Patriotic Lyric: “If you’re reading this, my momma’s sitting there. Looks like I only got a one-way ticket over here. I sure wish I could give you one more kiss, and war was just a game we played when we were kids. Well i’m laying down my gun, I’m hanging up my boots. I’m up here with God and we’re both watching over you. So lay me down, In that open field on the edge of town, and know my soul, is where my momma always prayed that it would go. If you’re reading this, I’m already home.”
5. “America the Beautiful,” by Katharine Lee Bates; 1895
A beautiful song about America, and the actual true beauty of the country we all live in and proudly call home.
Patriotic Lyric:”America! America! God shed his grace on thee. And crown thy good with brotherhood, from sea to shining sea.”
4. “God Bless America,” by Irving Berlin; 1918
This song is one which is in the form of a prayer for peace in the country. Berlin re-wrote it in 1938, which is the version that has been most often re-recorded and sung by others.
Patriotic Lyric: “God Bless America, my home sweet home.”
3. “”God Bless the USA,” by Lee Greenwood; 1984
This song, which was one that Greenwood had just wanted to write for his entire career, has long been felt as a song that is meant to boost the morale of the people during hard times, like war.
Patriotic Lyric: “‘Cause the flag still stands for freedom and they won’t take that away.”
2. “God Bless the USA,” (9/11 Tribute re-release) by Lee Greenwood; 2001
A re-release of Greenwood’s original song that was dedicated solely to the memories of those who perished on 9/11. The song is actually quite powerful, and especially after the attacks happened, sad.
Patriotic Lyrics: “It’s time to show the world we’re strong, we won’t be terrorized. Evil’s not allowed to win when you’ve got heaven on your side. It’s for the ones we’ve lost, that we stand up strong today. Cause the flag still stands for freedom, and they won’t take that away. And we’re standing strong as Americans, where at least we know we’re free. And we won’t forget the ones who died on that Tuesday Morning. And we’re going to stand up, and see it through, and defend her still today. Cause we’ll never fall when we all stand, God Bless the USA.”
1. “The Star-Spangled Banner,” by Francis Scott Key; 1814
It’s hard to get more Patriotic than our actual National Anthem.
Patriotic Lyric: “Oh, say does that star-spangled banner yet wave, O’er the land of the free, and the home of the brave?”