Memorial Day Songs As A Tribute

Memorial Day was originally known as Decoration Day – It commemorates U.S. soldiers who’ve died while in military service to our country. It’s meant to be a solemn day of remembrance to honor those that made the ultimate sacrifice – those who gave or lost their lives in our nation’s service towards our cherished freedom. Presently we observe Memorial Day on the last Monday in May (formerly the observance use to take place on a set date each year – that being May 30).

We are eternally grateful for those men and women who unselfishly gave their lives while serving our country around the world during wartime – World War I (1917-1918), World War II (1941-1945), the Korean War (1950-1953), the Vietnam War (1964-1975), the Gulf War (1990-1991) as well as those who have perished in the current War on Terror (2001-Present).

Many people traditionally observe Memorial Day locally by visiting cemeteries and memorials. On a national level, a moment of remembrance takes place at 3 p.m. in everyone’s local time zone. Another long time tradition is to fly the American flag at half-staff (half-massed) from dawn until noon local time. Volunteers often place American flags on each grave site at local, regional and National Cemeteries. Many communities around the country stage parades, family activities and events, memorial assemblies and/or patriotic concerts on Memorial Day or over the long weekend.

Many Americans also look upon Memorial Day as the unofficial beginning or kick-off of summer – a three day holiday weekend to head out camping or backyard BBQ’s or water sports, etc. simply enjoying good times with family and friends.

Now – as far as songs to memorialize or to be dedicated to those who have died – the following list covers a wide array of songs from different eras, generations and genres – This should be able to help you in preparing a playlist or custom CD to use at whatever you’re planning during this holiday period. Lots of possibilities here to choose from and at least a few of them may be ideal to use as a memorial or tribute. A number of the songs listed here will probably overlap the ones listed on other posts that I  have made for Veteran’s Day, Independence Day (4th of July), American Pride & Patriotic Songs and the 9/11 (Patriot Day) Songs of Remembrance.

Memorial Day Songs As A Tribute

  1. 50,000 Names – George Jones
  2. A GI Wish – The Four Vagabonds
  3. A Soldier’s Prayer – Collin Raye
  4. America Is My Home – James Brown
  5. America We Stand As One – Dennis Madalone
  6. America Will Always Stand – Randy Travis
  7. America Will Survive – Hank Williams Jr.
  8. American Soldier – Toby Keith
  9. American Trilogy – Elvis Presley, Mickey Newberry
  10. American Tune – Paul Simon
  11. Arlington – Trace Adkins
  12. Ashes To Ashes – Steve Earle
  13. Ballad of Ira Hayes – Johnny Cash
  14. Ballad of The Green Beret – SSgt. Barry Sadler
  15. Bang The Drum Slowly – Emmylou Harris
  16. Battle Hymn of The Republic – Mitch Miller & His Gang
  17. Belleau Wood – Garth Brooks
  18. Billy Don’t Be A Hero – Bo Donaldson & The Heywoods
  19. Born In The USA – Bruce Springsteen
  20. Bring Them Home – Pete Seeger
  21. Brothers Under The Bridge – Bruce Springsteen
  22. Comin’ In On A Wing & A Prayer – The Four Vagabonds (1943)
  23. Courtesy of The Red, White & Blue (The Angry American) – Toby Keith
  24. Day For Decision – Johnny Sea (1966)
  25. Days of America – Blackhawk
  26. Empty Boots – Carol Williams
  27. Everyday Angels – Radney Foster
  28. Far Away – Nickelback
  29. Fightin’ Side Of Me – Merle Haggard
  30. The Forgotten Soldier Boy – The Monroe Brothers (1936)
  31. Freedom – Paul McCartney
  32. God Bless The Soldier – Rhonda Vincent
  33. God Bless The USA – Lee Greenwood
  34. God, Country & Family – Craig Morgan
  35. Goodnight Saigon – Billy Joel
  36. Green Fields of France – Dropkick Murphys
  37. Hands That Built America – U2
  38. Have You Forgotten? – Darryl Worley
  39. He Wears A Pair Of Silver Wings – Dinah Shore
  40. Hello God – Dolly Parton
  41. Hello Vietnam – Dave Dudley/Johnnie Wright
  42. Here Comes The Freedom Train – Merle Haggard
  43. Homeland – Kenny Rogers
  44. I Am Mine – Pearl Jam
  45. I Told Them What You’re Fighting For – Mother Maybelle Carter (1966)
  46. I Will Be Home Again – Golden Gate Quartet (1945)
  47. I’m Already There – Lonestar
  48. If You’re Reading This – Tim McGraw
  49. The Immigrant – Neil Sedaka
  50. In America – Charlie Daniels Band
  51. Just A Dream – Carrie Underwood
  52. Last Band of Brothers – Keni Thomas
  53. Last Day At Gettysburg
  54. Last Fallen Angel – Charlie Daniels
  55. Last Letter Home – Dropkick Murphys
  56. Let’s Roll – Neil Young
  57. Let’s Roll America – Bellamy Brothers
  58. Letter From America – The Proclaimers
  59. Letters From Home – John Michael Montgomery
  60. Letters From War – Mark Schultz
  61. Living In The Promised Land – Willie Nelson
  62. More Beautiful Today – Mark McGuinn
  63. No One To Welcome Me Home – Hank Williams Sr.
  64. Oh Freedom – Pete Seeger
  65. One Letter Home – Jazz Gillum (1941)
  66. Only In America – Brooks & Dunn
  67. Our Country – John Mellencamp
  68. Overcome – Live
  69. The Patriot – Johnny Cash
  70. Point of Light – Randy Travis
  71. Poor Rebel Soldier – Flatt & Scruggs
  72. Praise The Lord & Pass The Ammunition – Kay Kyser & His Orchestra
  73. Ragged Old Flag – Johnny Cash
  74. Red, White & Blue – Brian McKnight
  75. Red, White & Blue – Lynyrd Skynyrd
  76. Remember Pearl Harbor – Sammy Kaye & His Orchestra
  77. Remembrance Day – Bryan Adams
  78. Riding With Private Malone – David Ball
  79. The Rising – Bruce Springsteen
  80. Shhh, It’s A Military Secret – Glenn Miller & His Orchestra
  81. Singin’ The Vietnam Talkin’ Blues – Johnny Cash (1971)
  82. Soldier’s Joy – Jimmy Driftwood (1957)
  83. Some Gave All – Billy Ray Cyrus
  84. Song Of The Patriot – Johnny Cash
  85. Still In Saigon – Charlie Daniels Band
  86. The Big Parade – 10,000 Maniacs
  87. There You’ll Be – Faith Hill
  88. There’s A Star Spangled Banner Flying Somewhere – Elton Britt (1942)
  89. This Ain’t No Rag (It’s A Flag) – Charlie Daniels Band
  90. This Is My Country – The Impressions (Curtis Mayfield)
  91. This Is Worth Fighting For – Shep Fields (1942)
  92. This Land Is Your Land – Woody Guthrie, Peter, Paul & Mary, The Kingston Trio
  93. Travelin’ Soldier –  Dixie Chicks
  94. What About Me – Kris Kristofferson
  95. What Made America Famous – Harry Chapin
  96. When A Soldier Makes It Home – Arlo Guthrie
  97. When Johnny Comes Marching Home – Glenn Miller & His Orchestra
  98. When Johnny Comes Marching Home – Mitch Miller & His Gang
  99. When You’re A Long, Long Way From Home – Hal McIntyre & His Orchestra
  100. Where Have All The Flowers Gone – Pete Seeger, Kingston Trio, Peter Paul & Mary
  101. Where The Stars & Stripes & The Eagle Fly – Aaron Tippin

Memorial Day at Arlington National Cemetery

American Pride & Patriotic Songs

God-Bless-America_eagle-flag-libertyHere is a sampling of some traditional patriotic songs about American Pride ….. the ultimate sounds of patriotism at it’s finest spanning over the past century and then some. Suitable for formal civic gatherings, memorials, dedications, military honors, parades as well as private family functions honoring long time veterans celebrating retirement or recent family members returning home from service to our country in the Middle East or elsewhere overseas. These also can make a nice playlist for your celebrations of  Memorial Day, Veterans Day, Labor Day, Flag Day or Patriots Day (honoring those who lost their lives on our darkest day during the tragic attacks of September 11 in New York City).

These have been recorded by several artists and musicians over the years but I have listed the “best of” renditions whenever possible.

AMERICAN Pride & Patriotic Songs

  • America (My Country ‘Tis of Thee)lady-liberty_united-we-stand
  • America The Beautiful – Frank Sinatra/Elvis Presley/Ray Charles
  • Anchors Aweigh (US Navy Anthem)
  • Battle Hymn of The Republic – Mitch Miller & His Gang
  • Caissons Go Rolling Along (US Army Anthem)
  • Dixie
  • From The Halls of Montezuma (US Marines Anthem)
  • God Bless America – Kate Smith
  • Star Spangled Banner – Whitney Houston
  • Stars and Strips Forever – John Philips Sousa
  • When Johnny Comes Marching Home
  • Wild Blue Yonder (US Air Force Anthem)
  • Yankee Doodle – James Cagney
  • You’re A Grand Old Flag
  • The Gettysburg Address – recited by Johnny Cash


Here are 2 more posts (on this site) that I added here last year covering several additional songs that fit a similar theme – Use the following links to view:

“Songs to Celebrate America’s 4th Of July”

9/11: Songs of Remembrance & Tribute For Patriot’s Day

god bless america eagle flag


Below are the words to a very powerful tribute to the USA delivered on Canadian radio back in 1973. I personally have both copies of the original vinyl 45 rpm, one delivered on the air by Gordon Sinclair and a second by Byron MacGregor. Both are collector’s items. They serve as a heartfelt and stirring tribute to the very root as well as the backbone of what America stands for ….. as meaningful today (probably even more so considering what this country has been through since 1973) as it was 26 years ago……….

Here is the You Tube link if you care to watch plus listen to it while reading below.

flag_eagleThe Americans:

A Canadian’s Opinion

by Gordon Sinclair

[originally radio broadcast on June 5, 1973 in Ontario Canada]

The United States dollar took another pounding on German, French, and British exchanges this morning, hitting the lowest point ever known in West Germany. It has declined there by 41% since 1971, and this Canadian thinks it is time to speak up for the Americans as the most generous, and possibly the least-appreciated, people in all the earth.

As long as sixty years ago, when I first started to read newspapers, I read of floods on the Yellow River and the Yangtze. Well who rushed in with men and money to help? The Americans did, that’s who.

They have helped control floods on the Nile, the Amazon, the Ganges, and the Niger. Today, the rich bottom land of the Mississippi is under water and no foreign land has sent a dollar to help. Germany, Japan, and, to a lesser extent, Britain and Italy, were lifted out of the debris of war by the Americans who poured in billions of dollars and forgave other billions in debts. None of those countries is today paying even the interest on its remaining debts to the United States.

When the franc was in danger of collapsing in 1956, it was the Americans who propped it up, and their reward was to be insulted and swindled on the streets of Paris. And I was there — I saw that. When distant cities are hit by earthquake, it is the United States that hurries into help, Managua, Nicaragua, is one of the most recent examples.

So far this spring, fifty-nine American communities have been flattened by tornadoes. Nobody has helped. The Marshall Plan, as well as the Truman Policy all pumped billions upon billions of dollars into discouraged countries. And now, newspapers in those countries are writing about the decadent, war-mongering Americans.

Now, I’d like to see just one of those countries that is gloating over the erosion of the United States dollar build its own airplanes.

Come on now, you, let’s hear it! Does any other country in the world have a plane to equal the Boeing Jumbo Jet, the Lockheed Tristar, or the Douglas 10? If so, why don’t they fly them? Why do all international lines except Russia fly American planes? Why does no other land on earth even consider putting a man or a woman on the moon?

You talk about Japanese technocracy and you get radios. You talk about German technocracy and you get automobiles. You talk about American technocracy and you find men on the moon, not once, but several times, and, safely home again. You talk about scandals and the Americans put theirs right in the store window for everyone to look at. Even the draft dodgers are not pursued and hounded. They’re right here on our streets in Toronto. Most of them, unless they’re breaking Canadian laws, are getting American dollars from Ma and Pa at home to spend up here.

When the Americans get out of this bind — as they will — who could blame them if they said “the hell with the rest of the world.” Let somebody else buy the bonds. Let somebody else build or repair foreign dams, or design foreign buildings that won’t shake apart in earthquakes.” When the railways of France, and Germany, and India were breaking down through age, it was the Americans who rebuilt them. When the Pennsylvania Railroad and the New York Central went broke, nobody loaned them an old caboose. Both of ‘em are still broke.

I can name to you 5,000 times when the Americans raced to the help of other people in trouble. Can you name to me even one time when someone else raced to the Americans in trouble? I don’t think there was outside help even during the San Francisco earthquake.

Our neighbors have faced it alone, and I am one Canadian who is damned tired of hearing them kicked around. They’ll come out of this thing with their flag high. And when they do, they’re entitled to thumb their noses at the lands that are gloating over their present troubles. I hope Canada is not one of these. But there are many smug, self-righteous Canadians.

And finally, the American Red Cross was told at its 48th Annual meeting in New Orleans this morning that it was broke.

This year’s disasters — with the year less than half-over — has taken it all. And nobody, but nobody, has helped.