It’s not surprising to find out that there are many, many country songs that honor veterans and the incredible service they have done for our country. In fact, country music has a long history of celebrating American patriotism and the brave individuals who have served in the military.
Many country songs touch the hearts of listeners by telling the stories of veterans, their sacrifices, the dedication of their families and the unwavering dedication they have to our nation.
Here are 15 country songs that honor veterans and their experiences.
1. “Some Gave All” by Billy Ray Cyrus (1992)
Billy Ray Cyrus may be known for “Achy Breaky Heart” but the title song of his first album, Some Gave All, honoring fallen soldiers and veterans became the best-selling album of 1992, selling over 9 million copies in the first 12 months of release.
“Some Gave it All” pays tribute to the brave men and women who have given their lives in service to their country. The song reflects on the selflessness of these heroes, acknowledging the sacrifices they made for the freedom and safety of others. The song’s poignant message and heartfelt delivery resonate with those who have served and their families.
2. “Travelin’ Soldier” by Bruce Robinson (1996)
“Travelin’ Soldier” follows the story of a young soldier during the Vietnam War and a girl he meets before his deployment. The song explores the emotional turmoil and longing of a soldier who finds solace in a letter from home.
The Dixie Chicks (now known as The Chicks) issued it as a single in December 2002, from their album Home. It became the group’s sixth single to reach No. 1 on Billboard’s “Hot Country Songs.”
3. “Where the Stars and Stripes and the Eagle Fly” by Aaron Tippin (2001)
“Where the Stars and Stripes and the Eagle Fly” was released in the wake of the attacks on September 11, 2001. All proceeds from the single went to the Red Cross and its relief efforts for the families of the victims.
The song is a patriotic anthem that celebrates the United States and paints a vivid picture of American pride, unity and enduring spirit. Aaron Tippin, a country artist with a strong sense of patriotism, has performed for American troops stationed overseas and has been actively involved in supporting veterans’ causes.
4. “Riding with Private Malone” by David Ball (2001)
The song “Riding with Private Malone” is a touching story of a man who buys a vintage car and discovers a letter from a soldier named Private Andrew Malone hidden in the glove compartment. It describes the soldier’s experiences and pays tribute to his memory.
The song was released in August 2001 as the first single from David Ball‘s album Amigo. The song reached #2 on the Billboard Hot Country Songs chart, and #36 on the Billboard Hot 100.
5. “50,000 Names Carved in the Wall” by George Jones (2002)
“50,000 Names Carved in the Wall” by George Jones was released in 2002. This iconic song honors the names etched on the wall of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial. The song is even more poignant because Jones himself served in the U.S. Marine Corps.
6. “American Soldier” by Toby Keith (2003)
“American Soldier” is tribute to the men and women who serve in the U.S. military. The lyrics express the soldier’s dedication to protecting the nation and the hardships they face while on duty. Toby Keith, a staunch supporter of the military, has performed for troops in various war zones and has been recognized for his philanthropic efforts in support of veterans.
7. “Letters from Home” by John Michael Montgomery (2004)
“Letters from Home” is a moving song about a soldier’s life on overseas duty. It was written by Tony Lane and David Lee, and recorded by John Michael Montgomery.
It was released in February 2004 as the second single and title track from the album of the same name. The music video features National Guard soldiers and was filmed at the Army Aviation Support Facility in Smyrna, Tennessee.
8. “Somebody’s Hero” by Jamie O’Neal (2005)
“Somebody’s Hero” is a song co-written and recorded by Australian country music artist Jamie O’Neal. It was released in April 2005 as the second single from her album Brave.
It was # 3 on the Hot Country Songs chart, giving O’Neal her sixth Top 40 country hit, and her third top ten hit. “Somebody’s Hero” tells the story of a mother who is her son’s hero as he goes off to war. The song emphasizes the everyday heroes who provide love and support to those in uniform.
9. “Arlington” by Trace Adkins (2005)
“Arlington” tells the story of a soldier who has made the ultimate sacrifice, lying in eternal rest at Arlington National Cemetery. The song captures the reverence of this hallowed ground. The lyrics convey the soldier’s duty and the impact of the loss on those left behind.
Trace Adkins, known for his deep and resonant voice, has a strong connection to the military. He has performed on multiple USO tours and has participated in various veterans’ support activities, and as you’ll see, has multiple country songs that honor veterans.
10. “8th of November” by Big & Rich (2006)
The song “8th of November” was recorded by the band Big & Rich in 2006. It recounts the true story of a soldier named Niles Harris who served in the 173rd Airborne Brigade during Vietnam War. The song describes the Battle of Dak To on November 8, 1965, and the harrowing experiences of the soldiers involved. It’s a moving tribute to the sacrifices made by veterans during the war.
11. “Dress Blues” by Jason Isbell (2007)
The song “Dress Blues” by Jason Isbell was inspired by the death of Corporal Matthew Conley, a US Marine who was killed in the Iraq War at the age of 21. Isbell wrote the song after hearing about Conley’s death as a moving tribute to not only Conley, but all soldiers who have lost their lives.
12. “If You’re Reading This” by Tim McGraw (2007)
“If You’re Reading This” is a tribute to the families of soldiers who have died. The lyrics are in the form of a letter written by a soldier to be sent to his family in the event that he dies. (“If you’re reading this / I’m already home”).
Tim McGraw first performed the song at the Academy of Country Music (ACM) awards, which were held in Las Vegas, Nevada and aired May 15, 2007. Over a hundred relatives of soldiers joined him onstage, under a banner that read “Families of Fallen Heroes”. After performing the song, McGraw received a standing ovation.
In October 2007, “If You’re Reading This” reached number 3 on the Billboard country charts, becoming McGraw’s forty-second Top Ten country hit overall.
13. “Just a Dream” by Carrie Underwood (2008)
Carrie Underwood, one of country music’s most celebrated artists, has a knack for touching the hearts of her listeners with her powerful and emotionally charged songs. In 2008, she released “Just a Dream,” from her second studio album, “Carnival Ride.”
The song was co-written by Carrie Underwood, Hillary Lindsey and Gordie Sampson. It soon became one of the standout tracks on the album, resonating with audiences for its emotionally charged lyrics and the raw, heartfelt delivery of Underwood’s vocals. In the song, the protagonist reflects on her past relationship and the dreams of a future together that will never come to fruition.
14. “I Drive Your Truck” by Lee Brice (2012)
The song “I Drive Your Truck” by Lee Brice conveys the profound loss felt by a man who lost his brother in the military. It beautifully illustrates how the pain of losing someone you love can be channeled into preserving their memory.
The song was awarded Song of the Year honors at the 47th annual Country Music Association Awards, as well as Song of the Year at the 49th annual Academy of Country Music Awards.
15. “Still a Soldier” by Trace Adkins (2017)
“Still a Soldier” was written by Phil O’Donnell and Wade Kirby and was recorded by Trace Adkins for the album, Something’s Going On. The tune tells the story of a military veteran with “a corner lot on Dogwood Drive / A year-old truck and a nine-to-five … A pretty wife / With a baby due.”
As the song’s chorus explains, although the song’s subject is no longer serving, “he’s still a soldier.” Adkins performed the song live at the 2020 National Memorial Day Concert in Washington D.C. Adkins has written several country songs that honor veterans including “Arlington”.
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