"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...