“Courtesy of the Red, White, and Blue” — Toby Keith
Toby Keith might be the most patriotic son of a b*tch not in uniform in this country. If he were president, the world would be worse off, but I guarantee no mother f*ckers would dare to f*ck with the f*cking U.S. of A.
Memorable Lyric: “You'll be sorry that you messed with the US of A, Cuz we'll put a boot in your ass, It's the American way.”
“8th of November” – Big & Rich
Most songs written about Vietnam have been protests. This song, however, is a portrayal of one soldier's journey, Niles Harris, as he and his platoon, the 173rd Airborne, were attacked on November 8, 1965. Harris was one of the few wounded soldiers who survived as he watched 48 of his brothers lose their lives on the battlefield.
Memorable Lyric: “With the fire rainin' down, And the Hell all around, There were few men left standin' that day.”
“Fortunate Son” — Creedence Clearwater Revival
And now here is a song that protests Vietnam and more specifically how men born into privilege dodged the draft while the poor were sent to fight the war.
Memorable Lyric: “It ain't me, it ain't me I ain't no senator's son son, It ain't me, it ain't me; I ain't no fortunate one no.”
“Chicken Fried” — Zac Brown Band
The song isn't entirely about our soldiers but it is a good tune and the one verse gives love to our boys overseas.
Memorable Lyric: “I thank god for my life, And for the stars and stripes, May freedom forever fly, let it ring, Salute the ones who died And the ones that give their lives, so we don`t have to sacrifice, All the things we love”
“Soldiers” — Drowning Pool
This song goes to show you that you can hate war but love the American warrior. Also, it has been said that their song “Bodies” is a soldier favorite at Boot Camp (can someone corroborate?). I don't know why, though, it's not like that song is filled with rage or anything.
Memorable Lyric: “Gut tight, hold steady. Bellicose, and ready. There is no compromise, Your pain, your worth, your sacrifice, On your feet, who's with me?”
“Citizen Soldier” – 3 Doors Down
I don't particularly care for this song from a “I can listen to this over-and-over again” standpoint, but it sends the right message. So who cares if it lulls me to f*ckin' sleep?
Memorable Lyric: “Hope and pray that you never need me, But rest assured, I will not let you down, I walk beside you, but you may not see me, The strongest among you may not wear a crown”
“Danger Zone” — Kenny Loggins
It's hard to believe the guy who brought us “Footloose” had this anthem in him. The song was written for “Top Gun,” but you when this song comes on you can't help but to think about the Air Force… and how much you hate that no one calls you Ice Man.
Memorable Lyric: “Highway to the Danger Zone, Gonna take you, Right into the Danger Zone.”
“Taliban Song” — Toby Keith
Yeah, like I said before, some countries would cease to exist if he were at the helm.
Memorable Lyric: “So we prayed to Allah with all of our might, Until those big US jets came flying in one night, And they dropped little bombs all over their holy land, Man, you should have seen them run! Like rabbits they ran, The Taliban”
“World Wide Suicide” — Pearl Jam
I couldn't be a bigger Pearl Jam fan, but I really can't stand when Eddie Vedder gets his political panties in a bunch. This song, however, is an exception for me because although it is predominantly anti-war, it is doing so in a way that describes how tragic it is that we've lost thousands of U.S. soldiers in this current war.
Memorable Lyric: “Medals on a wooden mantle, Next to a handsome face, That the President took for granted, Writing checks that others pay.”
“The Rooster” — Alice in Chains
This song was written by Jerry Cantrell based on the horror stories that still lived inside his father, Jerry Cantrell Sr., years after he left Vietnam. The awkward name is attributed to Rooster being the nickname for M60 gunners in Vietnam.
Memorable Lyric: “Walkin' tall machine gun man, They spit on me in my home land, Gloria sent me pictures of my boy, Got my pills 'gainst mosquito death, My buddy's breathin' his dyin' breath, Oh god please won't you help me make it through.”
“Arlington” – Trace Adkins
A song about all of our nation's fallen soldiers who call Arlington National Cemetery their final resting place. You can say what you want about country music, but you cannot deny the patriotism of this genre.
Memorable Lyric: “We're thankful for those thankful for the things we've done, We can rest in peace, because we are the chosen ones. We made it to Arlington”
“Ballad of Ira Hayes” — Johnny Cash
This song goes to show you just how fucked-up our country once was. Ira Hayes was a United States Marine of Native American descent and survivor of World War II's Battle of Iwo Jima. He was one of six Marines in the iconic photograph of the flag raising on Iwo Jima. After the war, he dealt with racism and became an alcoholic. When asked about his drinking, Hayes once said, “I was sick. I guess I was about to crack up thinking about all my good buddies. They were better men than me and they're not coming back. Much less back to the White House, like me.”
Memorable Lyric: “And when the fight was over, And when Old Glory raised, Among the men who held it high, Was the Indian, Ira Hayes.”
“American Soldier” — Toby Keith
Quite possibly the best tribute to our soldiers there is and ever will be. If you disagree you're quite possibly a terrorist.
Memorable Lyric: “Oh, and I don't want to die for you, But if dyin's asked of me, I'll bear that cross with an honor, 'Cause freedom don't come free.”
“These Colors Don't Run” – Iron Maiden
This is Iron Maiden's generalization that soldiers the world over sacrifice the same things for the same reason: Their love of country.
Memorable Lyric: “For the passion, for the glory, for the memories for the money. You're a soldier, for your country, what's the difference, all the same.”
“Goodnight Saigon” — Billy Joel
With the sound of helicopters bracketing both ends of the song, Joel transports us to Vietnam, where the soldiers are given Playboy, Bob Hope, and Doors tapes, and “learn fast to travel light.”
Memorable Lyric: “And we would all go down together, We said we'd all go down together, Yes we would all go down together.”
“Didn't I” — Montgomery Gentry
This song reminds me of the very first scene from “First Blood,” when Rambo is being run out of town because he wasn't seen as a Vietnam War veteran but a lowly drifter. All these men go off to war, a war they didn't start or probably want to be a part of, and yet when they come home after witnessing shit that would make a billy goat puke, people have very little respect for all they endured so others didn't have too.
Memorable Lyric: “I faced your fears, felt pain so you won't have to, Didn't I do my best, and wasn't home here when I left?”
What songs did we leave out? Sound Off in the Comments…