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!

Lest We Forget

American flags on gravesites commemorate Memorial Day at at United States national cemetery.
American flags on gravesites commemorate Memorial Day at at United States national cemetery.

“Patriotism is supporting your country all the time, and your government when it deserves it.”
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This quote from Mark Twain makes me chuckle. He sure was a man full of sass and attitude. I chose to share it today because it is Memorial Day—a special day set aside to remember and honor those who gave their life in active military service to our country. Here in the USA we call them heroes.

At Petticoats and Pistols we write stories of the west with all types of heroes. The brash, the reluctant, the foolish, the wounded and what we call…the alpha. In romance, we write it with a Happily Ever After Ending and the hero is alive at the end. (YAY!) Although sometimes it is bittersweet and they have lost a lot to get to their HEA.

Merriam-Webster Hero Definition:

  • a mythological or legendary figure often of divine descent endowed with great strength or ability
  • rodeo queens & flagsan illustrious warrior
  • a man admired for his achievements and noble qualities
  • one who shows great courage
  • the principal male character in a literary or dramatic work
  • the central figure in an event, period, or movement

No offense to Merriam-Webster’ definition but my heroes and heroines start out a bit more ordinary. It is only when they are caught up in extraordinary circumstances (a range war, a famine, a stampede, a robbery) that they must—through grit, intelligence, and determination—prevail.

Thinking about heroes and Memorial Day it comes to me that the men and women who have given their lives in service to their country are just that. They are you and me—ordinary men and women caught up in extraordinary circumstances. Which makes their actions under duress – that much more noble. (Plus the fact some of them actually chose to race into danger!)

                                             ~A few of my favorite quotes on heroes~

Liberty & JusticeCourage is contagious. When a brave man takes a stand, the spines of others are stiffened.
Billy Graham

It doesn’t take a hero to order men into battle. It takes a hero to be one of those men who goes into battle.    Norman Schwarzkopf

A man who has nothing for which he is willing to fight; nothing he cares about more than his own personal safety; is a miserable creature who has no chance of being free, unless made and kept so by the exertions of better men than himself.
Author Unknown

  Courage is being scared to death ~ and saddling up anyway.
John Wayne

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Don’t forget to take a moment today to remember and honor our fallen heroes!

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What are your thoughts on heroes and Memorial Day?

Pint. R&LThe Rebel and the Lady, has my favorite kind of hero. For one lucky commenter I will rush a print copy to your doorstep. Make sure to check back tomorrow to see if you won!

Here is the back blurb ~

Victoria Ruiz is on the run. Fleeing Santa Anna’s army, which is invading Texas. But Victoria is a lady of aristocratic descent. And this is no place for a lady.

Jake Dumont is a rebel. A loner. And a crack shot. He’s never stayed in one place for long. Never let anyone close enough to break through his guarded heart. Until now…

When Jake lays eyes on stunning Victoria, he’s rocked to the core. Here is a woman who will lay her life on the line for what she believes. Finally he’s found something worth fight for. The lady has stolen his heart. But can a rebel gunslinger claim an aristocrat as his bride?