Originally called Armistice Day, Veterans Day was first celebrated on November 11, 1918, to mark the end of WWI. It became a national holiday in 1938 designed to honor the American heroes and veterans that fought and continue to fight for America. Over the years, many artists have poured their souls and talents into paying tribute to servicemen, their actions, and the military events that have shaped the country. You can add these 10 amazing Songs for Veterans Day to your celebrations this year.
10. “Give Me Your Tired, Your Poor” by Irving Berlin
According to The Atlantic, the lyrics for Give Me Your Tired, Your Poor are engraved onto the base of the Statue of Liberty. Give Me Your Tired, Your Poor is a famous sonnet written by Emma Lazarus and turned to music by Irving Berlin, a Russian-born American lyricist, and composer. Lazarus wrote the sonnet in 1883 in a bid to raise money to construct the Statue of Liberty pedestal. The poem has been used across history to echo loyalty to America and love of country.
9. “(There’ll Be Bluebirds Over) The White Cliffs of Dover” by Vera Lynn
Written in 1941, (There’ll Be Bluebirds Over) The White Cliffs of Dover was one of the most popular patriotic songs in WWII. It was recorded in an effort to encourage and bolster the spirits of the Allied Nations, who had suffered great losses and defeats from Nazi Germany. Although the Righteous Brothers released a cover in 1966, the version by Vera Lynn remains the most famous.
8. “Dear Uncle Sam” by Loretta Lynn
Loretta Lynn, the country music icon, wrote Dear Uncle Sam, which tells the story of the wife of a soldier who has gone to fight in the Vietnam War. The song was among the first in the country to openly discuss the subject of war and peaked at number 4 on the Billboard charts.
7. “Letters From Home” by Jason Michael Montgomery
John Michael Montgomery released this single in 2004. It tells the story of an American soldier who received letters from his loved ones while fighting overseas. In addition, it explores the emotional and psychological effects military service can have on soldiers and their families. Upon release, Letters From Home resonated with many parents, children, and spouses that had loved ones serving overseas. The lyrics are bluntly emotional but mesh well with the calm arrangement and relevant video.
6. “November 8” by Big & Rick
November 8 is named after the day Operation Hump happened. The video features Kris Kristofferson, a noted veteran, who recounts the events of November 8, 1965, when over 1,000 Vietcong fighters ambushed the 173rd Airborne Brigade and killed 49 American soldiers. In the song, Big and Rick pay tribute to Lawrence Joel, the medic that saved countless soldiers despite being shot twice, and the soldiers that survived the attack and proved victorious. Joel later received the Congressional Medal of Honor, becoming the first African American alive to receive the award since the Spanish American War.
5. “Paradise” by Craig Morgan
Craig Morgan is himself a veteran and served on active duty in the US Army for close to 10 years and in reserve for an additional six and a half years. His song, Paradise, talks about how shocking entering the military is and how much of a privilege it is to serve your county. The video is as powerful as the message, showing photographs of Morgan’s service.
4. “American Soldier” by Toby Keith
Toby Keith is famous for his songs that often honor servicemen and promote patriotism. He draws inspiration from his father, who served in the military. In American Soldier, he sings about how serving is not a commitment you take on lightly but a deliberate choice to be brave and serve your country at all costs. However, the video is a heartfelt tribute to those who serve. It depicts the wars America has fought and how its soldiers have displayed fearlessness. Additionally, loyalty to the country, and bravery every time.
3. “Ballad of the Green Berets” by Staff Sgt. Barry Sadler
Ballad of the Green Berets is the ballad of the US Special Forces, who wear green berets as a nod to their military excellence. Written by an actual combat veteran, the song hit the airwaves in a big way and rose to number 1 on the Billboard Singles Chart in 1966. However, Staff Sgt. Barry Sadler wrote and released the song amidst public disparity over the war in Vietnam, which is why it is so impressive that the public embraced the song so readily. It communicates very strong sentiments of loyalty and bravery.
2. “America the Beautiful” by Katharine Lee Bates
America the Beautiful is a poem written by Katharine Lee Bates in 1893. Bates was an English professor at Wellesley College, noted writer, poet, and scholar. Later on, Samuel A. Ward, a choirmaster and church organist at Grace Episcopal Church in Newark, New Jersey, composed music for the poem, turning it into the classic you often hear at sporting events today. America the Beautiful is one of the most popular patriotic anthems in the US, and several versions of it have been recorded. Ray Charles popularized a soulful version of the song in 1976 as the country was celebrating its bicentennial. However, this version rose to number 98 on the US R&B chart and was often played in Times Square on New Year’s Eve.
1. “The Star Spangled Banner”
The current national anthem of the United States is the most widely performed and arguably the most popular patriotic song on this list. It was originally written by Francis Scott Key about the 1814 bombing of Ft. McHenry. However, in addition to being the ultimate musical symbol of patriotism, it has become a staple at sporting events and a source of hope and pride for soldiers.
Veteran’s Day is dedicated to honoring the men and women that have served the country. This is a holiday to consider what it means to be American. However, these 10 amazing Songs for Veterans Day reflect on patriotic themes.