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94 Songs About Soldiers and Veterans

FlourishAnyway believes there is a playlist for just about any situation and is on a mission to unite and entertain the world through song.

Make a playlist about soldiers and veterans to honor those who protect your liberty. We have a long list of pop, rock, metal, and country songs to get you started.

Make a playlist about soldiers and veterans to honor those who protect your liberty. We have a long list of pop, rock, metal, and country songs to get you started.

Soldiers Put It All on the Line for Freedom

Chances are that you have a veteran or active military member in your social network. But have you stopped to truly listen to their story and reflect on what their contributions mean to your freedom?

Men and women in uniform have put it all on the line for their country, setting aside their personal lives, often at great expense to their families and themselves. How often do you express your gratitude for their sacrifices?

Recognize veterans' heroic contributions to preserving liberty and freedom with a custom playlist. Here's a long list of pop, rock, and country songs about military personnel. You don't have to wait until Veteran's Day, Memorial Day, or Fourth of July to reflect on their heroism.

1. "For You" by Keith Urban

The soldier in this heartrending 2012 hit has a wife and an unborn child who wait for him at home. But in the heat of combat, with smoke, fire, and bullets flying, he doesn't think twice about taking a bullet for his fellow soldier. He knows this sacrifice is his duty and that others would do the same for him. That's the heroism of our men and women in uniform.

2. "American Soldier" by Toby Keith

Toby Keith drew fire from fans when he appeared at Donald Trump's pre-inauguration concert at the Lincoln Memorial and sang this 2003 country hit. It describes an American soldier—a family man, a hard worker, steady, brave, honorable, and good under pressure. In answering critics, the singer noted that he had appeared at the inauguration events of both George W. Bush and Barack Obama.

15 Ideas for Honoring Veterans on Veteran's Day and Beyond

How do you honor military veterans? Share your unique idea with us in the Comments Section below.

Attend a Veteran's Day event.

Write an open letter or poem about what veterans' sacrifices have meant to you and this nation. Send copies to the nearest military post or VA hospital.

Treat a veteran to lunch or dinner.

Donate your time, money, or goods to a veterans charity.

Ask a veteran (relative, neighbor, coworker, friend) about their time in the service and truly listen. Thank them for their service.

Educate children about what veterans have done for this country. Inform them about relatives, coaches, neighbors and family friends who are veterans.

Organize a bulletin board at work or school displaying the names and photos of veterans, active duty and reservists.

Loved ones and next of kin can order a free Presidential Memorial Certificate from the National Cemetary Administration signed by the current President (for honorably discharged deceased veterans).

Extend a broad thank you to all veterans and active duty personnel on social media. Or do a social media shout out to specific people in your life who are veterans.

Take a moment to share with your family and friends why veterans are important.

Make a custom playlist for your favorite veteran, reservist, or active duty military member.

Leave a flag or fresh flowers at a veteran's grave. Remove any debris and tend to the gravesite while you are there.

Visit Arlington and other war cemetaries and/or war memorials and take in the gravity of veterans' sacrifice.

Watch patriotic movies.

Learn the difference between Memorial Day and Veterans Day.

3. "8th of November" by Big & Rich

This poignant 2005 country song tells the story of Niles Harris, a 19-year-old boy from Deadwood, South Dakota, who hugged his mother goodbye as he left home for the army to fight during the Vietnam War. Just a few months later, on November 8, 1965, he encountered an epic battle he would remember the rest of his life.

Forty-eight fellow soldiers died in combat that day, and Niles was left with shrapnel in his leg as a reminder of their sacrifice. Decades later, he still honors their service on the 8th of November by putting on a suit and tie.

In case you're wondering ... yes, Niles is indeed real.

4. "Wake Me Up When September Ends" by Green Day

In this haunting 2005 rock hit describing loss, the narrator is going through a difficult time and mourns his innocence. Although the song was written about the passing of Green Day lead lead singer's father, its video depicts a couple separate by the Iraq War.

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Read More From Spinditty

Studies suggest that among soldiers who served in Iraq and Afganistan, about one in five suffer post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).  Among Vietnam Era veterans, as many as 80% reported symptoms when interviewed 20-25 years after Vietnam.

Studies suggest that among soldiers who served in Iraq and Afganistan, about one in five suffer post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Among Vietnam Era veterans, as many as 80% reported symptoms when interviewed 20-25 years after Vietnam.

5. "Warrior" by Kid Rock

The National Guard used this 2008 rock song by Kid Rock as a recruitment tool. It features a narrator who celebrates his status as a citizen soldier. He's ready to go when liberty calls because he understands that freedom isn't free.

6. "Indestructible" by Disturbed

Meant to be a battle anthem to encourage American soldiers and pump them up as they prepare for combat, this 2008 hard rock song is enough to make anyone feel unassailable. It speaks of no hesitation, a sworn duty to protect, and the honor of returning home victorious.

7. "Didn't I" by Montgomery Gentry

The 2002 movie We Were Soldiers featured this moving country song on its soundtrack. The song describes a Vietnam era veteran who returns home from war only to face judgment and criticism instead of appreciation for his service.

Rhetorically, the veteran asks whether he burned and bled enough and endured enough physical and emotional pain to warrant a better homecoming. About 9,087,000 military personnel served on active duty during the Vietnam era (1964 to 1975). Many faced protests, indifference, and a dearth of resource assistance with reintegrating into American society after the war.

Veterans Day, celebrated November 11, honors service members both alive and deceased.  Memorial Day, celebrated the last Monday of May, honors military members who died while serving their country.

Veterans Day, celebrated November 11, honors service members both alive and deceased. Memorial Day, celebrated the last Monday of May, honors military members who died while serving their country.

8. "'Til The Last Shot's Fired" by Trace Adkins

This country song from 2008 commemorates soldiers from the American Civil War to World War II to Vietnam. The nature of the conflict may have been different, but the horror of war is the same. The narrator urges us all to say a prayer for peace.

9. "Brothers" by Dean Brody

Brothers can be counted on, although they don't always express their emotions well verbally. That's the message behind this tender 2009 country song that shares memories from the narrator's childhood.

A young boy's older brother is leaving for the military, and at first the child preferred not to say goodbye, thinking that he could deny his brother's leaving away. At the last moment, the boy runs to his brother and offers to clean his room, give him his rookie Joe DiMaggio card, anything to prevent his departure.

Two years later, the soldier returns in a wheelchair and says that he's sorry that his younger sibling has to push him home. The younger brother replies, "This is what brothers are for."

10. "Fortunate Son" by Creedence Clearwater Revival

Recognized by the Library of Congress as being "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant," this seminal 1969 rock song is also one of Rolling Stone magazine's "500 Greatest Songs of All Time."

During the Vietnam era, "Fortunate Son" was an anti-war anthem that was used to express rebuke for people who supported war but didn't have to bear its burdens, either financially or by serving. About three-fourths of the military personnel who served in Vietnam were from lower middle/working class backgrounds.

11. "Citizen Soldier" by 3 Doors Down

This 2007 rock song pays tribute to the National Guard:

Hope and pray that you'll never need me,
But rest assured I will not let you down.
I'll walk beside you but you may not see me,
The strongest among you may not wear a crown.

It was used as a part of the National Guard's recruiting campaign and references the vital role that the Guard plays in both homeland security and national defense.

America's citizen soldiers may be activated to respond to natural disasters such as floods, earthquakes, and wildfires. They may also be deployed to help when peace is threatened by riots, civil unrest and terrorist events.

12. "The Pride" by Five Finger Death Punch

This high energy 2011 metal song conveys an American soldier's strength, pride, and unwavering readiness to defend, whatever the cost. In rapid succession, the song lists many iconic elements of American culture to represent all that a soldier protects when he or she serves our country. Our freedom, values and way of life hangs in the balance when troops are called to defend our country.

13. "Diamond Eyes (Boom-Lay Boom-Lay Boom)" by Shinedown

Written for the 2010 movie The Expendables, this rock song expresses the intensity of being on the front line of combat. With nothing to lose, a soldier operates on sheer adrenaline and a "fist first" mentality, thinking quickly in a brutal high-stakes battle.

14. "Letters From Home" by John Michael Montgomery

Sometimes simple things such as letters can do wonders to boost soldier morale. In this 2004 country song, a young soldier receives a letter from his mother about the details of everyday life back at home. He also gets a love letter from his fiance and a brief letter from his stoic dad that shares how proud he is of his son. Each helps to spur him on amidst the terrible uncertainty that is war.

15. "Hey Brother" by Avicii

This 2013 pop song expresses the devotion felt between siblings and others who still feel intensely connected when one of them is far away. Although separated by distance, they sense when the other is lonely or in danger:

Oh, if the sky comes falling down, for you
There's nothing in this world I wouldn't do.

16. "Courtesy of the Red, White and Blue (The Angry American)" by Toby Keith

After 9/11, this country song became a rousing anthem for the guys and gals in uniform. Full of bravado, the 2002 song features a narrator fondly recalling his war hero father. Then he launches into a promise of American vengeance for the sucker punch terrorist attack on 9/11:

Justice will be served
And the battle will rage
This big dog will fight
When you rattle his cage
And you’ll be sorry that you messed with
The U.S. of A.
`Cause we`ll put a boot in your a*s
It`s the American way.

17. "Some Gave All" by Billy Ray Cyrus

The narrator in this touching 1992 country hit recalls a friend who matured dramatically after his combat experiences. The friend remarked that when you think of your liberty, think of him as well as other veterans. The veteran explained to the narrator that "All gave some; some gave all."

Fifteen U.S. Presidents have not served in the military:  Trump, Obama, Clinton, FDR, Hoover, Coolidge, Harding, Wilson, Taft, Cleveland, Fillmore, Van Buren, John Quincy Adams, Jefferson, and John Adams.

Fifteen U.S. Presidents have not served in the military: Trump, Obama, Clinton, FDR, Hoover, Coolidge, Harding, Wilson, Taft, Cleveland, Fillmore, Van Buren, John Quincy Adams, Jefferson, and John Adams.

18. "Heaven Was Needing a Hero" by Jo Dee Messina

In this 2010 country song, the sweetheart of a fallen soldier visits his grave. Although she always told him that he wouldn't be called home until it was his time, she justifies his untimely death as due to heaven's needing a hero.

The Veterans Administration estimates that over 7% of all living Americans has served in the military at some point in their lives.

The Veterans Administration estimates that over 7% of all living Americans has served in the military at some point in their lives.

19. "Letters From the Garden of Stone" by Everlast

A combat soldier sits by the moonlight readying himself for battle at daylight in this 2008 rock song. At first, he shows little emotion about what he has to do -- kill or be killed. He tries to push back thoughts of family members, however the more their memories begin to creep in, the more he questions whether he's doing the right thing fighting.

20. "The Other Little Soldier" by Josh Gracin

Feel the lump in your throat form as you listen to this country tune from 2004. It describes a small boy who plays dress up in his dad's military uniform. Even though he doesn't have the maturity to understand what his father is fighting for, the child is proud and wants to grow up just like his role model.

When Uncle Sam calls his dad to combat, sadly, his dad returns in a flag-draped casket. The little boy gives his father one last goodbye salute. This child represents the legion of military family members who also make sacrifices in wartime and in peace.

There are seven uniformed branches of the U.S. military:  Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, the Public Health Service Commissioned Corps and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Commissioned Corps.

There are seven uniformed branches of the U.S. military: Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, the Public Health Service Commissioned Corps and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Commissioned Corps.

Even More Songs About Soldiers and Veterans

Got a song suggestion? Leave a note in the Comments Section below or hit me up on social media. (Click on my profile at the top of this article for more information.)

SongArtistYear Released

21. Travelin' Soldier

The Chicks

2002

22. Riding with Private Malone

David Ball

2001

23. Goodnight Saigon

Billy Joel

1982

24. I Want You to Live

George Canyon

2007

25. If I Don't Make It Back

Tracy Lawrence

2005

26. If You're Reading This

Tim McGraw

2007

27. Arlington

Trace Adkins

2005

28. Come Home Soon

SHeDaisy

2004

29. 50,000 Names Carved in the Wall

George Jones

2001

30. Belleau Wood

Garth Brooks

1997

31. I Just Came Back (from a War)

Darryl Worley

2006

32. Soldiers and Jesus

James Otto

2010

33. I Drive Your Truck

Lee Brice

2012

34. The Ballad of the Green Berets

Staff Sgt. Barry Sadler

1966

35. Remember the Heroes

Sammy Hagar

1982

36. Sam Stone

John Prine

1971

37. Who You'd Be Today

Kenny Chesney

2005

38. One Hell of an Amen

Brantley Gilbert

2014

39. Fallen Soldier

Nathan Fair

2013

40. Once I Was

Tim Buckley

1967

41. Orange Crush

R.E.M.

1988

42. I Was Only 19

Redgum

1983

43. Still a Soldier

Trace Adkins

2017

44. Ruby, Don't Take Your Love to Town

Kenny Rogers and The First Edition

1969

45. War Is Hell (On the Homefront Too)

T.G. Sheppard

1982

46. More Than a Name on a Wall

The Statler Brothers

1989

47. Castle of Glass

Linkin Park

2013

48. Wrong Side of Heaven

Five Finger Death Punch

2013

49. Rooster

Alice in Chains

1993

50. For Whom the Bell Tolls

Metallica

1984

51. I Remember (It's Happening Again)

Griffin House

2008

52. Camoflague

Stan Ridgway

1986

53. Just a Dream

Carrie Underwood

2008

54. 19

Paul Hardcastle

1985

55. Soldier Boy

The Shirelles

1962

56. Airborne

Nina Lee

2017

57. Dress Blues

Zac Brown Band

2015

58. People Back Home

Florida Georgia Line

2012

59. If Not Me

Craig Morgan

2013

60. In the Navy

Village People

1979

61. Navy Blue

Diane Renay

1963

62. Mother's Pride

George Michael

1990

63. Walking on a This Line

Huey Lewis

1984

64. Home of the Brave

Toto

1988

65. In My Blood

Black Stone Cherry

2011

66. Dear John

Producers

1982

67. Your Heart Belongs to Me

The Supremes

1962

68. Pass the Ammo

Moonshine Bandits

2015

69. American Pride

Moonshine Bandits

2011

70. Letters from War

Mark Schultz

2003

71. Angel Flight

Radney Foster and the Confessions

2009

72. Hero Of War

Rise Against

2009

73. Out of Harm’s Way

Journey

2005

74. The Ballad of Penny Evans

Steve Goodman

1976

75. Soldiers

Otherwise

2012

76. Gunslinger

Avenged Sevenfold

2007

77. Stop When You See a Uniform

Buddy Brown

2013

78. An Honor to Serve

Ray Boltz

1998

79. Two Soldiers Coming Home

Lori McKenna

2012

80. Dashboard

Chris Young

2009

81. The Warrior

Sean Householder

2009

82. Disposable Heroes

Metallica

1986

83. Tie a Yellow Ribbon Round the Ole Oak Tree

Dawn (featuring Tony Orlando)

1973

84. Where Have All the Flowers Gone?

The Kingston Trio

1962

85. The Ones That Didn't Make It Back Home

Justin Moore

2019

86. Born in the U.S.A.

Springsteen

1984

87. The Longest Day

Paul Anka

1962

88. The Longest Day

Iron Maiden

2006

89. My Son

Gary Puckett & The Union Gap

1968

90. Airborne Ranger Infantry

Kristy Lee

2012

91. 18 Video Tapes

Jason Meadows

2007

92. The Snow White Rows of Arlington

Sammy Kershaw

2010

93. And the Band Played Waltzing Matilda

The Pogues

1971

94. I Want to Come Home for Christmas

Marin Gaye

1972

Questions & Answers

Question: I want to see if you know what song is this: It's a song about a fiance/girlfriend who says goodbye to her lover as he boards a ship to go fight. Then she waits every day for him to come back. The song ends with the ship coming back without him. The song is probably between 1960-1990. Do you know?

Answer: Based on the information above, I can't tell whether you genuinely want to know or you're just testing me with a challenge. (I know that sounds different, but I certainly get stuff like that!) So that I can help you, it would be useful to know any additional information you recall about the song, especially since the approximate release year is over a 30-year spread. Some information that would help:

1) any key lyrics (and perhaps what war this referenced in the song, if any)

2) music genre (pop, rock, folk, country, R&B, metal, etc.)

3) was the artist a solo performer, a band, etc.? Male/female?

4) are you referring to an American song?

If you have any answers that may help me in narrowing down the search, you may leave a comment in the Comments Section of the playlist article. I'll do my best to help. Based on what you provided so far, all I could come up with was "Brandy" by Looking Glass (1972), but the nonreturning sailor does not seem to be fighting a war. Instead, he seems to be more in love with the sea than his girl.

Question: Who did the old song, "Before You Go?"

Answer: The song was a number one country hit for Buck Owens in 1965.

Question: A mother checks the mail every day finally finding a letter saying her son will be coming home with a flag red white and blue. What is that song?

Answer: That's a challenging one, and although I couldn't find an exact match, this one seems to be close: "Quincentuple Your Money" by The Lawrence Arms (2001). It doesn't reference checking the mail everyday, but it does have these lyrics:

There's a letter at my mother's house, came with a folded flag.

It says right now, I'm coming home in a body bag.

If a reader perhaps has a guess, I hope they will leave information in the Comments Section of the article.

Question: What is the song about a guy who sees a soldier on a plane and wonders how to thank him?

Answer: I'm wondering if you're talking about the following song: "Welcome Home Soldier" by Karl Sapp (2005). Here are a few lyrics and the YouTube:

I watched a young soldier,

Take his seat on the plane,

The guy by the window said

Son, what's your name?

He said,

Hi, I'm Jimmy,

Just back from overseas,

And when these boots hit down in Texas,

I'm gonna... drop to my knees,

Because I ain't seen, my wife,

In 18 months and 14 days

The man smiled at him and said,

Well let me be the first to say,

Welcome home,

Welcome home,

It's good to have you back where you belong

You fought hard for this land you love

And I thank you for all of us

We're proud to call you one of our own

Welcome home. ...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6-LP2CnBNSc.

I hope this is it. If not, perhaps you can share more details about the song such as sample lyrics, genre, whether a male, female, individual or group sings it, and the approximate time frame it was released.

Question: What is the song where a soldier calls his wife to ask if it is okay to bring a disabled buddy with no legs and one arm home with him?

Answer: Many people misremember the song as being about a soldier who stepped on a landmine, but it's actually about a badly injured rodeo rider. The song is Chris LeDoux's "Silence on the Line" (1978). Although his song is about a rodeo rider rather than a soldier, the plot certainly fits. Lyrics are below.

Since its release, there have been email chains and posts on the internet that seem to be based heavily on this song, thus this is probably the source of the widespread confusion. Some of these twist his song's original plot so that it's a soldier calling his wife while others indicate it's a soldier calling his parents.

Here is a YouTube link to the video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QZvZ4Scr_6Q

Lyrics to Chris LeDoux's song:

Took my last fall in San Diego

Bus headed north, one headed south

I call a farm in Colorado

And I lift a dusty pay phone to my mouth

She says hello, I say, It's me hon

Sorry I stayed away so long

Tell the kids their old man's through with playin' rodeo

Cause if it's alright with you I'm comin' home

Well there's silence on the line

She says, "You sure did take your time

But I still need a man for the things a man is good for

You know how it is raisin' crops and raisin' kids

Demands a man at least as fit as you are

So come on, git on home, there's hay that needs a mowin'

A boy that needs a whippin' and a hundred things to do

I hope you've finally found your mind

To leave that rodeo behind

I've spent half my life just waitin' here for you

I guess that now's the time I'd better tell her

Hon, I've got this old friend that's here with me

He used to be a cowboy and a good one, so they say

But now his legs are crippled he can't walk, you see

But hon, you ought to hear him tell his stories

Sing the old songs, play the guitar, too

I'd really like to show him Colorado

But I thought I'd better leave it up to you

Well there's silence on the line

And now I hear her sayin'

Babe, I only need a man for the things a man is good for

And you know how it is a place just half this big

Demands a man at least as fit as you are

Put yourself in his place it's awful hard to face

All the chores and work and nothing he could do

If you want to know my mind leave that rodeo bum behind

Don't waste our time I'm waitin' here for you

Well cryin's just for kids; I put down the phone

Fumble with my crutches movin' slow

I wish that I was on the bus that's Colorado bound

And I hope the weather's nice in Mexico.

Question: What is the song that ends in, "Hallelujah Hallelujah Hallelujah" and is about an American soldier going off to war?

Answer: You are probably referring to the rewritten version of Leonard Cohen's 1984 song, "Hallelujah" which military veteran, Terra Weston (known as "Sailor Jerri") did for fellow vets. Here it is: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=msYPbjFC50w

Question: What are the song lyrics for "The Navy in Me" by Steve Dean?

Answer: Here's a lead for you although I was unable to find the lyrics in several lyrics databases. I looked at his website, "http://www.stevedeanmusic.com/home.html" and found the song under the discography tab (listed as "The Navy in Me" - Operation Song /Chattanooga Volume III - 2018. He's part of a trio called "Hits and Grins" so friend him on Facebook if you're a fan of the song and tell him you're looking for the lyrics he to this song he wrote.

Question: What is the song about a soldier who went to war and when it says he's coming home it also says "this song's for the ones that never did"?

Answer: The song you want is by Justin Moore and is called "The Ones That Didn't Make It Back Home" (2018) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RRnkeo2y2kY

Question: Did you know that the song, "Tie A Yellow Ribbon" by Dawn was about a man getting out of prison, not out of the military?

Answer: That's actually a common misunderstanding, although I can certainly see how one would come to believe that. Based on the songwriter's account, it is about a Union prisoner of war who is being released from a military prison camp. That's probably where the prisoner part came from. The lyrics, too, refer to doing his time.

The co-songwriter describes the inspiration for his song here in "The Tennessean" (https://www.tennessean.com/story/entertainment/mus... There is also a widely used quote attributed to the same songwriter, L. Russell Brown, who attempts to set the record straight:

"This is NOT the story of a convict who had told his love to tie a ribbon book to a tree outside of town. I know because I wrote the song one morning in 15 minutes with the late lyrical genius Irwin Levine. The genesis of this idea came from the age-old folk tale about a Union prisoner of war--who sent a letter to his girl that he was coming home from a Confederate POW camp in Georgia... Anything about a criminal is pure fantasy...."

Question: What is the title of a song about a soldier who passed away during war time? The song has Mrs. in the title in reference to his mother, since she was the one that received the news.

Answer: Although that doesn't ring a bell, there is one called "Mrs. McGrath." It's an Irish folk song that has been recorded by a number of popular musicians, including Bruce Springsteen, Pete Seeger, The Dubliners, and others. It's about a woman whose son joins the British Army and returns seven years later with both legs amputated as a result of being hit by a cannonball fighting against Napoleon.

© 2017 FlourishAnyway

Comments

FlourishAnyway (author) from USA on September 07, 2020:

MG - Thank you for your kind comment. I appreciate your reading. Your honorable service to your country is a blessing.

MG Singh emge from Singapore on September 06, 2020:

I identify with this selection as a veteran. You have a computer brain to catalogue such collections. Thank you