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May 23

Top 5 Country Memorial Day Songs

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Memorial Day is a time for us to remember and honor the brave men and women who have died while serving our country. The day was previously known as Decoration Day, and it goes way back to the Civil War.

justin moore, big and rich, merle haggard, george jones, lee greenwood, memorial day, memorial, day, tim mcgraw,
via HISTORY

The idea behind the day is to take a day to honor the fallen soldiers and place a flower or a flag on the graves of soldiers. And, these country songs would be a good reminder for us to remember the fallen.

Top 5 Memorial Day Songs

If You’re Reading This – Tim McGraw

Tim McGraw‘s “If You’re Reading This” is a tribute to the families of soldiers who have died. Its lyrics are in the form of a letter written by a soldier that is sent to his family. This is the kind of letter to be sent only if the solder dies in action.

The lyrics are raw and poignant, and how McGraw sings it makes it even more emotional. The first line is just a taste of what the whole song is about:

If you’re reading this
My Mommas sittin there
Looks like I only got a one way ticket over here
Sure wish I
Could give you one more kiss
And war was just a game we played when we were kids

The song was first performed in the Academy of Country Music Awards on the 17th of May, 2007. The song resonated in the hearts of many that shortly after the performance, several radio stations began playing a telecast of the song.

50,000 Names Carved in the Wall – George Jones

George Jones‘ iconic song was released in 2002, and it is intended to honor the names by the Vietnam Veterans Memorial. The song had even more meaning into it because Jones himself served in the U.S. Marine Corps, resonating the song within him as well. It was included in Jones’ album The Rock: Stone Cold Country.

The lyrics are relevant to the memorials that are erected for our fallen brothers and sisters. It embodies how the memorial is a symbol for everyone to remember the service that these people did.

There’s stars of David and rosary beads
And crucifixion figurines
And flowers of all colors large and small
There’s a Boy Scout badge and a merit pin
Little American flags waving in the wind
And there’s 50,000 names carved in the wall

And after you listen to it, a wave of melancholia and a sharp sense of grief and loss that the families and friends endure to this day will be felt. What’s even more painful is knowing that there were actually 58,000 casualties and 153,000 wounded during the Vietnam War. The tearful tribute was penned by songwriting legend Jamie O’Hara.

8th of November – Big & Rich

‘8th of November” is a song written and recorded by famed country music duo Big & Rich. With the rich introduction by Kris Kristofferson, the story of the song revolves around Niles Harris, a soldier who was part of the 173rd Airborne Brigade of the United States Army during Operation Hump in South Vietnam on the 8th of November 1965.

justin moore, big and rich, merle haggard, george jones, lee greenwood, memorial day, memorial, day, tim mcgraw,
Screengrab via Youtube

The song continues to recall the events that transpired on the 8th of November, where he was among the wounded who were saved by Army medic Lawrence Joel, the first living African American to receive the Medal of Honor. The song was released in 2006 as a third and final single from their album Comin’ to Your City.

The Ones That Didn’t Make It Back Home  – Justin Moore

This song is a heartfelt tribute to the young soldiers whose lives were sacrificed for the sake of their country.  “The Ones That Didn’t Make It Back Home” was born from a tradition that Justin Moore does at every single one of his concerts. For a number of years, he’d asked his fans to raise a glass to those who died fighting for American freedom overseas. And one day, it just hit him to make a good song out of that tradition.

Moore mentioned that the song is dedicated to everyone who didn’t make it back home, not just the soldiers too.

” [The song is] dedicated to ALL the ones that didn’t make it back home. Soldiers, first responders, doctors, nurses, teachers, students… every person who made the ultimate sacrifice, while fighting for what and whom they love.”

The fallen soldier tribute is timeless, in an unfortunate sense. The way Moore sets up the song in a picturesque America imagery makes you wonder, which war is he talking about?  Then, it begs the question, just how many wars have we been in? And how many more will we be in?

Moore said that the song was inspired by his grandfathers.

Soldier’s Last Letter – Merle Haggard

Another entry on the list is in letter form. Country legend Merle Haggard delivers a heart-wrenching song about a soldier’s final moments.

I’m writing this down in a trench, mom
Don’t scold if it isn’t so neat
The way that you did when I was a kid
And I’d come home with mud on my feet
The captain just gave us our orders
And mom, we will carry them through
And I’ll finish this letter the first chance I get
But for now I’ll just say I love you
The original recording was by Ernest Tubb, and it was penned by him and Redd Stewart. The song is based on Stewart’s experience when he was drafted into the U.S. Army and sent to the South Pacific following the attack on Pearl Harbor.
The song touches on the feelings of a son writing to his mom, knowing that this might very well be the last time he does, and just expresses how much he loves her. It is as if the song fully captures how our soldiers must feel on a daily basis.

Honorary Mention: God Bless the USA – Lee Greenwood

One of the most patriotic songs that everybody in the family can sing along to is “God Bless the U.S.A.” by Lee Greenwood. The song reflects how we would sacrifice ourselves and everything we have for our great country and we would gladly stand up and fight because we love our country and everyone in it.


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Big and Rich, George Jones, Justin Moore, Lee Greenwood, memorial day, merle haggard, tim mcgraw


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