Veterans Day is a holiday dedicated to honoring those who have served in the United States Armed Forces. But like 4th of July, Memorial Day and, to an extent, Labor Day, it’s also a time to reflect on what it means to be American. This list of the best Veterans Day songs touch on those themes of patriotism and sacrifice, reflecting the breadth of the American experience, past, present and future.
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Best Veterans Day songs
In America, the promise of possibility intoxicates most of us, notably here, one American girl described by Tom Petty.
Maybe Miley Cyrus didn’t write this song but then, what’s more American than paying someone else to do it for you? There’s no doubt, though, that she’s the one driving this timeless ditty about carefree teenage Americana.
In this song, Springsteen laments the poor treatment received by Vietnam War veterans. But his point was valid, and, if we want to be a good country, it’s a lesson we should never forget.
This punk track attempts to jibe the narrator’s patriotism with America’s conflicted history: As the song goes, “You’ve got to know the truth, before you say that you’ve got pride.”
Part of being American is enjoying freedom of speech—that includes the liberty to loudly disapprove of its government, a right that Bemis exercises in this obscure but truly rocking lambasting of the then-president.
This track packs funk and pride into a slick, groovy jam about a vast and gorgeous country full of bad selves. Woo—get up now!
This inspirational ballad deals with the difficulty of coming of age in America and ways in which we can overcome that struggle.
If there is a streak of American life marked by pride, it’s found in the South, and no song describes such Dixie love with more aplomb.
As this sweet ditty instructs, “be young, be dope, be proud—like an American.”
More than 50 years later, Dylan’s queries about freedom and justice are as relevant as ever.