45 Songs About Soldiers and Veterans
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 Veterans 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
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.
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.
In the Comments Section Below, Tell Us About the Special Veteran(s) in Your Life
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.
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 Avicci
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."
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.
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.
Even More Songs About Soldiers and Veterans
21. Travelin' Soldier
22. Riding with Private Malone
23. Goodnight Saigon
24. I Want You to Live
25. If I Don't Make It Back
26. If You're Reading This
28. Come Home Soon
29. 50,000 Names Carved in the Wall
30. Belleau Wood
31. I Just Came Back (from a War)
32. Soldiers and Jesus
33. I Drive Your Truck
34. The Ballad of the Green Berets
Staff Sgt. Barry Sadler
35. Remember the Heroes
36. Sam Stone
37. Who You'd Be Today
38. One Hell of an Amen
39. Fallen Soldier
40. Once I Was
41. Orange Crush
42. I Was Only 19
43. Still a Soldier
44. Ruby, Don't Take Your Love to Town
Kenny Rogers and The First Edition
45. War Is Hell (On the Homefront Too)
What's In a Name? Locations With Names Associated With Soldiers
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