PATRIOTIC C&W SONGS–LEARNING HISTORY THROUGH SONGS #3 by Cheryl Pierson

 

Summer seems like the most patriotic time of the year in general, doesn’t it? We kick off the summer months with Memorial Day in May. Poppies are worn in remembrance of veterans on Memorial Day and on Veterans Day in November.

On June 6, we are reminded of the sacrifices made on a faraway beach in Normandy that resulted in many deaths in WWII, but turned the tide for the Allies and helped us gain victory. June 14th is Flag Day, a fine “tune up” for our huge 4th of July celebration that’s right around the corner.

Is anyone more patriotic than a cowboy? I don’t think so!  So many country and western songs have been written through the years that are a tribute to not only our troops, but to first responders, and to all the “regular” American people who love our country.

Here is my list of top country and western patriotic songs, compiled from several on the internet—all different, but all wonderful—and all with one thing in common: our love for our country. These are in no particular order. I don’t know how anyone could choose one over the other since they all are products of excellent songwriting and musicianship—and heartfelt sentiments about America! And goodness knows, I didn’t list them all here—no room! Like I said, there are a lot of patriots in the country music field, and a huge number of songs to listen to in order to get in the patriotic spirit of things! I’ve included the youtube links in case you want to pop over and give these a listen!

This first one is an odd one, but I just love it. It was recorded by David Ball, who didn’t have that many hits, but this one will stay in your memory when you hear it for the very first time. I get chills every single time I hear it.  A young man buys a ’66 Corvette and discovers a letter in the glove box “My name is Private Andrew Malone, and if you’re reading this I didn’t make it home…” Which always makes me think about so many young men who could have written this following line…“For every dream that’s shattered, another one comes true…”  It’s called RIDING WITH PRIVATE MALONE and it has a very twisty ending you’re sure to love!

 

https://youtu.be/v5dyHPX8Cos

 

Probably the most recognized country song that many call our “unofficial” American anthem was written and performed by Lee GreenwoodGOD BLESS THE U.S.A. Written in 1983, it’s become synonymous with patriotism, and is loved by countless Americans, whether they are typical country and western fans or not. Its simple message is one that grabs you and holds on, and I have to admit, that even after nearly 40 years of hearing it, I still get teary! “I’m proud to be an American, where at least I know I’m free, and I won’t forget the men who died, who gave that right to me—so I’ll gladly stand up next to you and defend her still today, for there ain’t no doubt I love this land—God Bless the U.S.A.!”

 

https://youtu.be/yH61hFsma24

 

Another “oldie but goodie” is Merle Haggard’s THE FIGHTIN’ SIDE OF ME, written in 1970. Oh, goodness. If I had a nickel for every time I’ve heard my husband play and sing that back when we used to have our band…fond memories, and it was a song that was a frequent request, whether we lived in West Virginia or here in Oklahoma. “If you don’t love it, leave it, let this song that I’m singin’ be a warnin’—when you’re runnin’ down my country, hoss, you’re walkin’ on the fightin’ side of me…” I love the sentiment of this song. In true “Merle” fashion, he’s saying that we can disagree on things without trashing our country. I think everyone in the audiences we played to knew the words to this song!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uIxBmyRQlwQ

 

WHERE WERE YOU WHEN THE WORLD STOPPED TURNING? is not a “patriotic” song in the way we’d normally think of one, but it was not written during normal times. Penned by Alan Jackson in 2002 after the horrific events of  9/11/01, this song is packed with emotion and validates the many thoughts and feelings that Americans went through during the aftermath of that day. Each chorus of this song ends with the reminder that God’s greatest gift to us is love—even though we were going through some horrendous times. This song was nothing short of a masterpiece that drew Americans together, gave us hope, and let us know we were not alone in our feelings.

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KNsfx_4k-JA

 

In 1974, Johnny Cash wrote RAGGED OLD FLAG, a recitation about all the incidents that happened to “the ragged old flag” that hangs in a little town’s courthouse square as told to a town newcomer by one of the old men who lives there. “She’s been through the fire before, and she can take a whole lot more…on second thought, I guess I do like to brag, cause I’m mighty proud of that ragged old flag!”

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-KqrjeScLSI

8TH OF NOVEMBER, another patriotic song written about the Vietnam war, is performed by Big and Rich. It is the true story of a terrible battle in which the 173rd Airborne was engaged. That day, 48 Americans died with very few survivors when they were ambushed by 1200 Viet Cong. “With the fire rainin’ down and the hell all around there were few men left standin’ that day…”

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ozpdBvB0hek

 

 

 

There are countless others, in case you want to put together a country and western playlist for your big Independence Day shindig! Take a look!

SOME GAVE ALL by Billy Ray Cyrus

LETTERS FROM HOME by John Michael Montgomery

HAVE YOU FORGOTTEN? by Darryl Worley

IF YOU’RE READING THIS by Tim McGraw

HOME by Dierks Bentley

I DRIVE YOUR TRUCK by Lee Brice

FOR YOU by Keith Urban

IT’S AMERICA by Rodney Atkins

FLYOVER STATES by Jason Aldean

COURTESY OF THE RED, WHITE, AND BLUE (THE ANGRY AMERICAN) by Toby Keith

WHERE THE STARS AND STRIPES AND THE EAGLE FLY by Aaron Tippin

AMERICAN SOLDIER by Toby Keith

THE BALLAD OF IRA HAYES by Johnny Cash

This isn’t all of them, either! Hope you all have a very happy upcoming 4th of July with family, friends, and loved ones. What’s your favorite country and western patriotic song, and why? It’s hard to pick just one!

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A native Oklahoman, I've been influenced by the west all my life. I love to write short stories and novels in the historical western and western romance genres, as well as contemporary romantic suspense! Check my Amazon author page to see my work: http://www.amazon.com/author/cherylpierson
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40 thoughts on “PATRIOTIC C&W SONGS–LEARNING HISTORY THROUGH SONGS #3 by Cheryl Pierson”

  1. What an amazing post.
    John Wayne sing it rather talks in this sing that makes my knees go weak.
    Why I Love Her:
    Here’s the lyrics:
    You ask me why I love her? Well, give me time, and I’ll explain…
    Have you seen a Kansas sunset or an Arizona rain?
    Have you drifted on a bayou down Louisiana way?
    Have you watched the cold fog drifting over San Francisco Bay?
    Have you heard a Bobwhite calling in the Carolina pines?
    Or heard the bellow of a diesel in the Appalachia mines?
    Does the call of Niagara thrill you when you hear her waters roar?
    Do you look with awe and wonder at a Massachusetts shore…
    Where men who braved a hard new world, first stepped on Plymouth Rock?
    And do you think of them when you stroll along a New York City dock?
    Have you seen a snowflake drifting in the Rockies… way up high?
    Have you seen the sun come blazing down from a bright Nevada sky?
    Do you hail to the Columbia as she rushes to the sea…
    Or bow your head at Gettysburg… in our struggle to be free?
    Have you seen the mighty Tetons? …Have you watched an eagle soar?
    Have you seen the Mississippi roll along Missouri’s shore?
    Have you felt a chill at Michigan, when on a winters day,
    Her waters rage along the shore in a thunderous display?
    Does the word “Aloha”… make you warm?
    Do you stare in disbelief When you see the surf come roaring in at Waimea reef?
    From Alaska’s gold to the Everglades… from the Rio Grande to Maine…
    My heart cries out… my pulse runs fast at the might of her domain.
    You ask me why I love her?… I’ve a million reasons why.
    My beautiful America… beneath Gods’ wide, wide sky.

    Thank you for posting this blog. Happy 4th of July early.

      • So many wonderful songs, aren’t there? There are tons more I just didn’t have room to list, but you can bet I’m going to play through every one of these this morning while I’m working!

    • Oh, Tonya, I remember this so well, and I still get chills when I hear it. In fact, I got chills reading it! LOL Thanks so much for posting this. I remember in elementary school and even on up–it seems like our country was so much more patriotic than it is now. I love these older songs–reminders of how it SHOULD be!

  2. Cheryl Pierson, thank you for this post. As the wife of a retired soldier, these songs truly get to me. There isi always a tear in my eye. You asked our favorite. It is not on your list but my favorite iis “The Star Spangled Banner”. I think our National Anthem is the most patriotic song there is and when people “take a knee” it really makes me mad. This is OUR country. If we don’t preserve it we are going to lose it; thank you again.

    • Wyann, they get to me, too, for sure! My hubby was in the Navy, but that was before I ever knew him–we are very patriotic in this household! I have to admit, The Star Spangled Banner is probably my favorite of all patriotic songs in any genre, too. I can’t sing it without getting teary, thinking of all that has gone before in our history. I hope our hubbies know that there are still good people out there that appreciate our military and all they have sacrificed for this country! Thanks for stopping by today!

    • Debra, I think writing a patriotic song in today’s world would be really hard to do–well, writing ANY kind of song, for me, would be really hard to do–that’s the hardest kind of writing there is, IMO. But to deliver a message and come up with a tune to go with it would be really tough, I would think–something that would appeal to the masses. But all these songs did it and did it beautifully! We are so lucky to live in a time when songs can be recorded and played again and again. And I certainly agree with you! We DO need to treasure our country, now and always!

  3. I’m not good at picking one of anything so I’m just going to go with Lee Greenwood’s “Proud to be an American” because I feel that song in my chest everytime I hear it!! Loved, loved, loved this blog and I’m going to post Patriotic songs on my Facebook page, “Chef Stephanie’s Cooking Corner” everyday at least until the 4th after seeing this!! Thank You for sharing!! ???

    • I agree with you, Stephanie! LOVE LEE GREENWOOD’S SONG! I feel like that, too, when I hear it–almost makes me cry. This, to me, is THE perfect example of a well-written song that speaks to the masses and makes us FEEL what the songwriter intended! I’m so glad to hear you are going to be posting patriotic songs on your FB page! I’ll come check it out!

  4. Cheryl, this just warms my heart to no end. Thank you for posting all these songs which remind us of what a great country we live in and songs depicting our treasure. I am a pianist and growing up in church my mom and I would play piano/organ duets. A favorite of ours was the Battle Hymn of the Republic. Happy 4th of July everyone. I’m going to buy a few flags today! This post so inspired me!

    • Kathy…I’m just at a loss for words–to know this post inspires you so–and I’m so thrilled to hear it! We need more reminders of how great our country is in this day and time, don’t we! I play the piano, as well, and always loved to play this one, too. Another one I loved to play when I was younger was The Marines’ Hymn. How neat that you and your mom played duets together! That is wonderful! My mom always wanted to learn to play the piano–she was a very accomplished vocalist, but never had music lessons, so she was determined all three of her daughters would learn to play the piano. My teacher was a taskmaster! And we weren’t allowed to count the “extra” music we just wanted to learn for fun as “practice time” but it was songs like these that made learning fun–even if I couldn’t write it down as “practice time” spent. LOL Thanks so much for your VERY kind words!

  5. The Promised Land by Willie Nelson. I believe he apittimizes the American people and everything we stand for. He is all about America, country and the people.

  6. Cheryl, what a wonderful post! I love Lee Brice’s “I Drive Your Truck.” That song helped me tap into the emotions of a cowboy who turned his horse ranch into an equestrian therapy ranch when he returned from deployment. Another song that hits me and makes me aware of what not only service man and women sacrifice, but what their families sacrifice as well is Justin Moore’s “The Ones Who Didn’t Make It Back Home.” These songs always make me cry. Thanks for doing this post. We can never forget what these men and women along with their families have sacrificed.

    • Julie, you have given me two new songs to listen to now! I’m heading over to YOUTUBE! Music has a way of touching our hearts and our emotions in so many facets. I do get emotional when I hear so many songs that have so much meaning in our lives. You’re so right–we can NEVER forget what our military men and women have sacrificed, because it doesn’t end for them when they leave the military–those experiences are with them forever. Hugs, my friend!

  7. Welcome. A wonderful post. You are so right, it is hard to pick just one. That is why your suggestion to make a compilation is wonderful. thank you

    • Lori, I have so many “lists” and compilations over at Youtube it’s not even funny. LOL I was never good at picking “just one” of anything–I love too many things! LOL So glad you stopped by and thanks so much for commenting!

  8. Not necessarily my favorite, but Country song “I’m Already There” by Lonestar is beautiful.

  9. I love David Ball’s song that you mentioned, Private Malone! Also, the Statler Brothers Vietnam song, More Thank a Name on the Wall. Trace Adkins has some good ones, too. As you say, too many to name!! My favorite country singers, from when I was a child playing my Daddy’s records, are Johnny Horton and Charley Pride, so any of their songs are my favorites! lol!

    • Trudy, I cannot listen to Private Malone without thinking of how many soldiers that could be. I think it’s genius that someone was able to tell that story in a few short verses so powerfully. I love Johnny Horton and Marty Robbins–you’re right there are too many great ones to name!

  10. An excellent post, Cheryl. I love all of these and get chills every time I hear Private Malone. Another one I love is “Angel Flight” by Radney Foster. It gives me goosebumps too.

    • Jan, I’m so glad you told me about this song by Radney Foster. I loved his voice, and always wondered what happened to him! I will look this one up on Youtube, too. I love discovering new songs that others tell me about. Recently, I got on a Mark Knopfler kick and I can’t get enough of his music–not like anything else around out there, IMO, and talk about so much of it being emotional. So glad you stopped by, Jan, and thanks again for telling us about that song by Radney Foster. I’m off to listen!

  11. So many wonderful songs! I always tear up when I hear Private Malone or If You’re Reading This. When I hear Where Were You by Alan Jackson I am taken back to the frantic early morning phone call from our oldest daughter telling me to turn on the television. She and her family were living on the Naval Base in Charleston, SC and she had waited two hours before calling us out here in the Pacific time zone. For me there are too many great songs to pick a number one favorite.

    • Alice, a day NONE of us will ever forget, I’m sure–and since I’m from Oklahoma, I always will have the Murrah Building bombing embedded in my mind, as well. Those days like that stay with us forever.

      I agree with you–too many to pick just ONE! LOL So many wonderful patriotic songs, and I think I love every single one of them!

  12. Cheryl, I had never heard Riding With Private Malone before and didn’t make it through the song with dry eyes. God Bless The USA is, of course, one I have heard many times over the years. Sadly, it is often sung and used by people who feel their view of America is the only one that is valid and acceptable. Their intolerance flies in the face of what this country stands for. This is even more true of The Fightin’ Side Of Me. Some people forget the country is richer for the different people it welcomes. Quakers are pacifists. That doesn’t mean they do not contribute to the country in their own way. (There are more ways to support your country than fighting. I firmly believe everyone should register for the draft at 18, male and female. They should go through basic training and serve the country for 2 years. That service could be in poor communities, the Peace Corps, military hospitals, etc. Fighting isn’t the only way to serve the country.). I was in college during the early Vietnam War period. The anti-war sentiment was high and the military and their families were mistreated. Today the military is not vilified and others are attacked. I have been verbally attacked and disrespected because I support social programs and was a Peace Corps volunteer. They discount the fact I was a military wife for 24 years and am active at the local VA and with veterans’ programs. They wrap themselves in the flag and play these two songs full blast in their self-righteous “pseudo patriotism.”
    Alan Jackson’s Where Were You When The World Stopped Turning is wonderful and shows what the real foundation of the country and patriotism is – love for your country and your fellow man. Too many instances of people forgetting that were on display afterwards and today.
    The 8th of November is touching and shows a bit of how bad the conflict was. It is another song I have never heard. We both have good friends whose names are on The Wall. I know what it is like to say goodbye and pray he comes home whole and well. We started our marriage with 4 tours in Vietnam. You live in dread of 2 strangers in uniform coming to your door. Taps and the missing man formation become something you dread. Am I anti-war? Yes, I always have been. This does not make me unpatriotic or anti-American. I realize there are times when fighting is a necessary option. I am just very tired of the “Love it or Leave it” group. Just because I don’t agree with you it doesn’t make you right or me an enemy of the country. That attitude is much more of a threat to Peace and Domestic Tranquility.

    My favorite patriotic song is God Bless America. I am sorry for going off on my rant. It is just that local and national events lately have shown a lack of respect for others and the country. It is distressing that my way or the highway seems to be becoming more prevalent. Civility and understanding need to come back more than ever.

    • Patricia, I could not agree more. I believe that, too, with all my heart. It is my fervent hope and prayer that our country will become more respectful of each other and remember that we are all Americans. I can’t imagine what that had to be like, the fear you must have felt every day with your hubby in Vietnam. Mine was there, too, but that was before I ever knew him. I love God Bless America, too. There are some wonderful patriotic songs out there in all genres, and I admire anyone who can write a song and make the words and music mean so much to so many people. Such a few short words to be able to say so much! Thanks so much for stopping by today. I hope you all have a wonderful 4th of July! I’m so glad you stopped by today, Patricia. It’s always great to learn new songs that we didn’t know before, and I have learned from some of these comments about some other songs I didn’t know that are just excellent, too.
      Hugs!

  13. I love, love, love the post and comments. I can’t wait to give the ones I don’t know a listen! Patriotism runs deep in me and my family. I’m proud to be an American. As many problems as we face and have faced, it’s home. It’s beautiful and grand and has such a rich history for a relatively young country. Thanks all.

    • Kristen, I totally agree with you. I’m proud to be an American too, and I love all these songs, and was so glad to learn some I DIDN’T know about! Thanks for coming by!

  14. Woooooow I didn’t know there were this many patriotic songs. I think i need to do some listening and become a little more patriotic. AMerica, AMerica is a fave of mine as is LEe Greenwoods song. Thank you for making this post! 😀

    • Sabrina, this is really the tip of the iceberg so to speak, too! I love that so many commenters have brought more songs to the table that I never heard of. All wonderful songs! You are so welcome, and I’m so glad you stopped by and enjoyed the post!

  15. I remember Barry Sadler’s The Battle of the Green Berets and CCR’s Fortunate Son Vietnam War songs. Also Eve of Destruction by Barry McQuire

    Blowin In the Wind by Bob Dylan

    • Oh, yes, Laurie! The Ballad of the Green Berets was sooo popular. And so touching. Fortunate Son–great song, but I’m crazy for CCR. LOL Yes, Eve of Destruction (saw Barry McGuire perform that on one of the sweeps shows they showed on PBS not long ago–did a great job!) And Blowin’ in the Wind–probably one of the best songs ever written! So many wonderful songs through the ages. I’m so glad to be alive in this day and time where we are able to listen to them on recordings again and again!

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