November 8

8th of November: Story of War Veteran Niles Harris Told by Big & Rich

Big & Rich Tells the Story

Country music duo, Big & Rich brings back memories about the Vietnam War with their hit “8th of November.” This song was inspired by the story of Vietnam veteran Niles Harris. One of the icons of country music, Kris Kristofferson introduced the story and the song in the music video of the record and said a quote from Jesus, saying:

“Greater love has no man than to lay down his life for his brother”

Do you know that just like other country music duos, Big and Rich came from two different bands? Kenny Alphin a.k.a. Big Kenny is the former solo artist and the lead singer for luvjOi while John Rich is the former vocalist and bassist of Lonestar.

In 2002, Big & Rich visited the historic city of Deadwood, South Dakota. The two artists were looking for inspiration for a song during that time, and there they found Niles Harris. After that, they met each other in the bar where the war veteran tends bar. Then, as they conversed, Big & Rich heard the inspiring story behind “8th of November.”

Niles Harris’ Story

Niles Harris was just 19 years of age when he was assigned to the US Army’s 173rd Airborne Brigade in Vietnam. Harris joined his C Company landing in Vietnam’s War Zone D on November 5, 1965. Three days after, his second platoon composed of 30 men was attacked by 1,200 Vietnamese soldiers equipped with machine guns, claymores, and sniper rifles. On that unfortunate day, 48 Americans and over 400 North Vietnamese soldiers died.  Niles Harris received a purple heart for his service.

A Man Who Saved a Lot of Lives, Lawrence Joel

Lawrence Joel, the courageous platoon medic treated his fellow soldiers despite being shot twice. He treated his wound and self-administered morphine for him to find his wounded comrades. Then, Joel treated their wounds and called out encouragement. For his bravery and service, Joel was awarded a Medal of Honor.

A Documentary about the 8th of November

Back in 2005, Big & Rich asked Niles Harris if he would like to visit Vietnam for the first time since the war. The retired soldier agreed, and as a result, the group traveled with a documentary crew composed of Americans and Vietnamese. They went to the exact same spot where Nile’s comrades fall. Later, they buried the boots Harris was wearing the day of the battle in a B52 bomb crater at the site.

Watch the documentary, “The 8th of November: a true American Story of Honor”  below.


Big & Rich, Vietnam War, War Veteran

  • Thank you for memorializing this sobering story. God bless you all who remain to tell of it, and deliver you of the pain of it. Thank you for your service, your willingness to defend freedom.

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