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Memorial Day Songs

Mike Sudhalter  |  May 29, 2007

I recently celebrated Memorial Day weekend with a barbecue at a friend's house on Sunday. Instead of just having fun, I thought about what Memorial Day meant to me.

When I was in grade school, Memorial Day was just another day off from school. Being older, I have a deeper appreciation for the holiday.

I try to think about all of the people, living and deceased, that have had an impact on my life. And I think about the soldiers and Armed Forces that serve their country. I'm so proud of my relatives who have served in the U.S. Armed Forces, and I'm just as proud as the current soldiers. Politicians and policies, good or bad, change, but the dedication of our military remains very strong.

I was pleased to see that Ancestry web site released 90 million military records. I was able to view WW II military records of my family. I hope you all get the same opportunity to check out your own families' records that would be difficult to find, if not for today's technology.

Well, Memorial Day also got me thinking about some of my favorite songs that relate to this special holiday. There are many patriotic songs that aren't country, but because this is a country music blog, that's what I'll share with you. These are just a few of the songs that relate to the holiday.

"American Soldier" by Toby Keith

Keith is right on with this touching tribute to the professional soldier, singing about their dedication to our country. And he does this number with a great deal of class. Unlike Keith's earlier hit "Courtesy of the Red, White and Blue", this tune isn't divisive or controversial.

"Travelin' Soldier" by Dixie Chicks and also by, Ty England

Few people knew that England sang this tune as well. I actually heard him sing it before I listened to the Chicks' version. They're both great songs, and they remind us of the human cost of war. The harmonies on the Chicks' version is just incredible. And England is pretty impressive too.

"I Just Came Back From A War" by Darryl Worley

Worley gained a great deal of attention with "Have You Forgotten?", and many thought the song was divisive. Nobody could say that about this song, recorded on the now-defunct independent label, 903 Music. It really speaks to things that only those involved in military conflict understand. None of us can really understand what they go through unless we've been there, and this song does a great job of getting that message across.

Entire albums for Luke Stricklin and Keni Thomas

Both of these excellent artists are military veterans who sing about their experiences. Stricklin has a very traditional country influence, and Thomas has excellent background vocals on his disc. Guests on the Thomas disc include Vince Gill, Emmylou Harris, Kenny Rogers and pop singers Shawn Mullins and Michael McDonald.

Regardless of your views on the current military conflict, these are songs that celebrate the contributions of our Armed Forces and remind us of their sacrifice.

:: Posted at 3:09 AM by Mike Sudhalter ::
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