Memorial Day is a special holiday where we pay tribute to fallen soldiers, whose lives were lost in battle. Music, being the powerful tool that it is, has the ability to move us while we honor them in a way that nothing else can.
In this playlist of the Top 10 Songs to Honor Fallen Soldiers on Memorial Day, we selected tracks that help express the way we feel when a family member, friend or just someone we admire is killed while serving our country. Lee Greenwood beautifully expresses his patriotism in the words, “I won’t forget the men who died, who gave that right to me” and Jim Morrison of The Doors harrowingly sings, “And it’s all over for the unknown soldier.”
Memorial Day Playlist:
“God Bless the U.S.A.” – Lee Greenwood
Lee Greenwood’s patriotic song, “God Bless the U.S.A.,” was first released in 1984 and was performed at that year’s republican convention. The song saw popularity again in 2001 after the Sept. 11 attacks. The Top 10 song expresses great love for the U.S. and remembers lives lost.
“Some Gave All” – Billy Ray Cyrus
This song was a no brainer for this list. Billy Ray Cyrus’ “Some Gave All” is a heartbreaking reminder of just how much soldiers give up to be on the front lines. “Love your country and live with pride and don’t forget those who died,” he sings.
“Remember the Heroes” – Sammy Hagar
Sammy Hagar’s song takes a more neutral approach to war. It’s a gentle reminder that no matter what your stance on war is, we should always support those fighting for our freedom. We should remember the great sacrifices they’re making.
“Tears Next Door” – Maggie Baugh
You may not have heard of Maggie Baugh — well, not yet — but she has a traditional country twang and one very patriotic song. “Tears Next Door” is her look at a young neighbor who loses her father in war. She sits on her tire swing and watches the little girl cry and eventually watches her neighbor leave for war as well.
“Just a Dream” – Carrie Underwood
“Just a Dream” by Carrie Underwood will really tug at your heartstrings. In the beginning of the single, we’re led to believe the woman in the song is going to her wedding but she’s actually going to her husband’s funeral. He was a soldier killed in war. The song was a No. 1 hit on the Billboard Hot Country Songs chart for Underwood and it’s a Memorial Day staple.
“Arlington” – Trace Adkins
“Arlington” by Trace Adkins is incredibly powerful. “We can rest in peace, ’cause we are the chosen ones / We made it to Arlington, yea dust to dust. / Don’t cry for us, we made it to Arlington,” the country singer with the deep voice sings. This is the quintessential song for Memorial Day, allowing us to think of things from the POV of the fallen.
“If You’re Reading This” – Tim McGraw
“If You’re Reading This,” the song by Tim McGraw, was first performed at the ACM Awards back in 2007. It was a moving performance with McGraw wearing all black. This song is a tribute to fallen soldiers and it’s a song written as a letter from the soldier to his family. “If you’re reading this I’m already home,” he sang at the ACM Awards surrounded by relatives of soldiers. The above clip is sure to give you chills.
“Travelin’ Soldier” – Dixie Chicks
“Travelin’ Soldier” was written by Bruce Robison after one of his friends went off to the first Iraq war. Robison himself released the song but it wasn’t a big hit until the Dixie Chicks put their own spin on the song in 2003. The song hits its climax when they’re at the Friday night football game and everyone is asked to stand for the boy dead in the Vietnam war, the only person touched being his young love “with a bow in her hair.”
“The Unknown Soldier” – The Doors
The Doors‘ “The Unknown Soldier” was Morrison’s reaction to the Vietnam war. He also used it as a way to respond to the way the media was portraying the war at the time. It was a song of protest. In between the protest he remembers “the unknown soldier,” a fallen soldier.
“Soldier’s Last Letter” – Merle Haggard
“Soldier’s Last Letter” was released by Merle Haggard in 1970 but was originally released by Ernest Tubb, who cowrote the track with Redd Stewart. It was a hit for Haggard, and rightfully so. “The captain just gave us our orders and mom, we will carry them through. / And I’ll finish this letter the first chance I get but for now I’ll just say I love you,” he sings in the touching song.
What tracks are on your Memorial Day playlist? Leave us a suggestion below and we may add it to our Spotify playlist.