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The best Veterans Day songs

Reflect on the meaning of the national holiday with this curated playlist of the best Veterans Day songs

Veteran's Day Songs
Photograph: Shutterstock
By John Marshall Katheder |
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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

11
Tom Petty

“American Girl” by Tom Petty

In America, the promise of possibility intoxicates most of us, notably here, one American girl described by Tom Petty.

12
“Party in the U.S.A.” Miley Cyrus

“Party in the USA” by Miley Cyrus

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.

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13
Bruce Springsteen

“Born in the USA” by Bruce Springsteen

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.

14
The Descendents

“’Merican” by Decendents

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.”

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15
Say Anything

“The Presidential Suite” by Say Anything

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.

16
James Brown

“Living in America” by James Brown

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!

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17
Jay z

“Made in America” by Kanye West & Jay Z, ft. Frank Ocean

This inspirational ballad deals with the difficulty of coming of age in America and ways in which we can overcome that struggle.

18
Lynyrd Skynyrd

“Sweet Home Alabama” by Lynyrd Skynyrd

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.

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19
Lana Del Rey

“American” by Lana Del Rey

As this sweet ditty instructs, “be young, be dope, be proud—like an American.”

20
Bob Dylan
Photograph: Courtesy Bob Dylan

“Blowin’ in the Wind” by Bob Dylan

More than 50 years later, Dylan’s queries about freedom and justice are as relevant as ever.

Listen to the best Veterans Day songs

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