Get your Fourth of July playlists ready with these spirited, patriotic country songs that pay tribute to what it means to be an American. We’ve rounded up the most moving songs from Johnny Cash, Billy Ray Cyrus to Brad Paisley and Faith Hill.
Check them out below.
12. “American Soldier” by Toby Keith
There’s no shortage of patriotic country music songs in Toby Keith‘s collection. He’s proud of America and its military. Keith never failed to show it through the songs he has written and recorded. In 2003, the country singer offered his greatest tip of the hat to our troops with his powerful single “American Soldier.”
Two years after the September 11, 2001 attack, Keith’s “American Soldier” was No. 1 on the charts. Keith said that his inspiration to write the song was from the experiences he gained from spending time meeting troops on his United Service Organizations Inc. (USO) tours and that he wrote the song to show his support for all of those men and women.
11. “Some Gave All,” Billy Ray Cyrus
Twenty-eight years ago today, on May 19, 1992, Billy Ray Cyrus recorded “Some Gave All.” The song became the title track of his freshman album, which became the best selling album of that year in the United States. In 2011, Cyrus re-recorded “Some Gave All.” The new version featured guest vocals from Craig Morgan, Jamey Johnson, and Darryl Worley.
Through the years, “Some Gave All” turned out to be the go-to song for honoring fallen soldiers, with its lyrics “all gave some, some gave all” often etched on memorials of veterans who’ve served in Iraq and Afghanistan.
10. “America” by Waylon Jennings
“America,” released in September 1984, is the most patriotic song ever recorded by Waylon Jennings. It has lyrics that perfectly describe what it means to be an American and has successfully captured the essence of brotherhood that Americans should feel toward each other.
Its music video can’t get any more patriotic. It featured scenes from all across the United States. Waylon Jennings can also be seen singing the song outside a convenience store of a gas station with the American flag on it.
9. “In America” by Charlie Daniels
The song was Charlie Daniels‘ reaction to the different difficult issues America faced in the late 1970s like the fallout from the Watergate scandal, unemployment, the simultaneous double-digit inflation, and prime interest rates that led to the misery index, and most especially, the 1979–1981 Iran Hostage Crisis.
Despite all the problems America was facing, the song described a patriotic, united America which would overcome the obstacles and return to its greatness. “The Iranian Hostage Crisis. Our hostages over at the American Embassy in Tehran. It was a reawakening of patriotism,” Daniels said.
8. “Arlington” by Trace Adkins
Trace Adkins isn’t just known for his beautiful country songs and signature deep vocals. As most of us know, he’s also a proud supporter of the U.S. military. It is evident through not just the charities and causes he supports but also in his music.
“Arlington” is just one of several songs he has performed in honor of the men and women who are serving and have served this great country.
The powerful song is narrated by a soldier who died in action and is now buried at Arlington National Cemetery. But what most people don’t know is that the hit song was actually inspired by the story of Tennessee-native, Corporal Patrick Nixon.
Nixon belonged to the United States Marine Corps. He died in battle on March 23, 2003, after he was ambushed while trying to secure a bridge in Nasiriyah, Iraq.
7. “Ragged Old Flag” by Johnny Cash
Johnny Cash was absolutely proud to be an American, and he was proud of our nation’s flag and all that it represents. Cash revealed his admiration for the American flag in his song “Ragged Old Flag” that he penned himself for his 1974 album of the same title.
Cash wrote the song with the goal of reviving patriotism in the country after the Watergate scandal. The song is also in spoken-word style, so Cash uniquely speaks the lyrics more often than he sang them.
After several years, the song was able to maintain its power today. Before the Super Bowl LI in Houston, Texas, in 2017, Fox Sports aired a patriotic clip that featured “Ragged Old Flag.”
6. “American Flag on the Moon” by Brad Paisley
In “American Flag on the Moon,” Brad Paisley invites Americans to dream big again and “believe in impossible things.”
“I mean, after all, there’s an American flag on the moon,” he sings.
If we recall, twelve American astronauts landed on the moon between July 1969 and December 1972. They left behind six United States flags. Although the flags are far too small to be visible from Earth, NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) photographed the shadows cast by five of the six flags in 2012. This confirmed that they were still standing.
If you don’t find it as something to be proud of, I don’t know what will.
5. “Where the Stars and Stripes and the Eagle Fly” by Aaron Tippin
This is definitely one of the best patriotic country songs of all time! It does not only honor America and her flag, but it also pays homage to the public servicemen and women!
Aaron Tippin had written the song with Casey Beathard and Kenny Beard in 2000, but it didn’t make the cut for his last album that year. “I didn’t know why it didn’t make the album,” Tippin said. “But now, I know exactly why it didn’t. It had a bigger purpose.”
Just two days after the September 11, 2001 attack, the country singer went to a Nashville studio to record the song.
4. “American Heart” by Faith Hill
The legendary country songstress, Faith Hill, has done a lot of awesome things in her career, and this includes her patriotism to the country through her songs. “American Heart” is a straightforward reminder of the country’s spirit.
“We’ve been through a lot as a country throughout the years, and we’ve faced tremendous adversity,” the country star said.
“People are suffering, trying to make ends meet, and times are especially tough right now. The sentiment captures everything I think we all feel when we think about the American spirit.”
The song’s music video, which featured a well-lit American flag in the shape of a heart, also captured the undercurrent of American patriotism that runs from state to state.
3. “Keep Us Safe” by Carrie Underwood
Carrie Underwood wrote the song for the ‘ACM Presents: An All-Star Salute to the Troops’ in 2014. The song was Underwood’s way to honor the soldiers for their efforts in keeping people safe at home and abroad.
“When we were approached to be a part of the show, I was so excited to do something to honor our troops and because ACM Lifting Lives does such great work. I wanted to take the time to really think about what song I wanted to perform,” Underwood said.
The country singer also said the song was applicable to the troops, their families and basically, everyone.
2. “Only in America” by Brooks & Dunn
Ronnie Dunn’s unique lead tenor is one of the most recognizable voices in the world of country music. At the same time, Brooks played a significant role in shaping some of the duo’s most successful songs back when they were a country radio staple.
Brooks, together with writers Don Cook and Ronnie Rogers, wrote the patriotic song just some months before the September 11, 2001 terrorist attack on New York City. With its opening line that says, “Sun comin’ up over New York City,” the country song turned into an unofficial anthem of healing, not only for the city but even the whole United States.
In 2004, the song was also extensively used in campaigns for both political parties. George W. Bush frequently used it during his presidential re-election campaign while John Kerry also had it played at the Democratic National Convention.
Also, the song played when Barack Obama announced Joe Biden as his vice president in Illinois in 2008.
1. “God Bless the USA” by Lee Greenwood
The song first appeared on Lee Greenwood‘s album “You’ve Got a Good Love Comin'” released in the spring of 1984. It was meant from the start to be an anthem, a song suited for big patriotic moments. Ever since it has been a go-to selection at times of national strife.
The song’s first high-profile use in a political setting was during the Republican National Convention in 1984. Greenwood explained,” ‘God Bless the USA’ got associated with President Reagan. They made a film of his life,” and the song was part of the soundtrack.
The song also became a staple at parades and homecomings during the 1991 Gulf War. Then September 11, 2001, came! Greenwood performed the song twice at Yankee Stadium. One performance was for a firefighters’ memorial, and the other was during the Game 4 of the 2001 World Series.
So there you have it! These patriotic songs will surely make you proud to be an American.