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REAL Memorial Day Songs


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Shawna, one thing to keep in mind is that Memorial Day commemorates those who have died in service to their country. Veterans Day commemorates those who lived through their war experiences.

I'm glad you brought that up... on my drive to San Diego yesterday that exact thought occurred to me... (great minds and all that, right?) :)

Your suggestions are great, everybody - thanks for the help. Keep it comin'. I've got much more time to play with this time around, and the input is a wonderful help! :) :)

Does anyone know of any metal or rap songs about this? I'd like to get a good representation of all genres... I know that country is the one I'm most aware of for this topic.

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"GREEN FIELDS OF FRANCE (NO MAN'S LAND)" - DROPKICK MURPHYS

:bow: :bow: :bow: :bow:

Oh how do you do, young Willie McBride,

Do you mind if I sit here down by your graveside,

And rest for a while in the warm summer sun,

I've been walking all day and I'm nearly done

And I see by your gravestone you were only 19

when you joined the Great Fallen in 1916

Well, I hope you died quick and I hope you died clean

Or, Willie McBride, was it slow and obscene

Did they beat the drum slowly

Did they play the fife lowly

Did they sound the death march as they lowered you down

Did the band play the Last Post and Chorus

Did the pipes play the Flowers of the Forest

And did you leave a wife or a sweetheart behind

In some loyal heart is your memory enshrined

And though you died back in 1916

To that loyal heart you're forever 19

Or are you a stranger without even a name

Forever enshrined behind some old glass pane

In an old photograph torn, tattered and stained

And faded to yellow in a brown leather frame.

Did they beat the drum slowly

Did they play the fife lowly

Did they sound the death march as they lowered you down

Did the band play the Last Post and Chorus

Did the pipes play the Flowers of the Forest

The sun shining down on these green fields of France

The warm wind blows gently and the red poppies dance

The trenches have vanished long under the plow

No gas, no barbwire, no guns firing now

But here in this graveyard that's still no man's land

The countless white crosses in mute witness stand

To man's blind indifference to his fellow man

And a whole generation were butchered and damned

Did they beat the drum slowly

Did they play the fife lowly

Did they sound the death march as they lowered you down

Did the band play the Last Post and Chorus

Did the pipes play the Flowers of the Forest

And I can't help but wonder, young Willie McBride

Do all those who lie here know why they died

Did you really believe them when they told you the cause

Did you really believe that this war would end wars

Well the sorrow, the suffering, the glory, the pain

The killing and dying, it was all done in vain

Oh, Willie McBride, it all happened again,

And again and again and again and again

Did they beat the drum slowly

Did they play the fife lowly

Did they sound the death march as they lowered you down

Did the band play the Last Post and Chorus

Did the pipes play the Flowers of the Forest

:bow: :bow: :bow: :bow:

:afro: :afro: :afro: :rockon: :rockon: :rockon:

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This tune from Dan Tyminski's "Wheels" CD release and addresses "those who are left behind." (Also for those who have buildings, ships, and recreation fields named for them.)

How long is this train son

I heard his fragile voice

I didn’t want to listen but there really was no choice

It seems like it goes on forever and I waited for so long

The old man’s breath came slow and smelled of whiskey in the dawn

On a cold November morning in the gentle mist of rain

There’s just so many reasons that people wait to meet a train

And as I waited for my sister to come down the metal stairs

He told me that his son had not been home in fifteen years

And I barely seemed to notice the tears behind his face

But his wishes were no strangers to the people in this place

The old man stood there waiting for a young man dressed in blue

Then he handed him a neatly folded flag and said for you

He said your son he died a hero in the service of this flag

The old man took it gently put it in his paper bag

Then I left him in the rain there but I’d still hear his voice

I try hard not to listen but there really is no choice

On a cold November morning in the gentle mist of rain

There’s just so many reasons that people wait to meet a train

How long is this train son

I can hear the pouring rain

I’m still reminded of him when I hear a passing train

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Some Mother's Son by The Kinks

This is also my nom for TT this week.

Some mother's son lies in a field

Someone has killed some mother's son today

Head blown up by some soldiers gun

While all the mothers stand and wait

Some mother's son aint coming home today

Some mother's son aint got no grave

Two soldiers fighting in a trench

One soldier glances up to see the sun

And dreams of games he played when he was young

And then his friend calls out his name

It stops his dream and as he turns his head

A second later he is dead

Some mother's son lies in a field

Back home they put his picture in a frame

But all dead soldiers look the same

While all the parents stand and wait

To meet their children coming home from school

Some mother's son is lying dead

Somewhere someone is crying

Someone is trying to be so brave

But still the world keeps turning

Though all the children have gone away

Some mother's son lies in a field

But in his mother's eyes he looks the same

As on the day he went away

They put his picture on the wall

They put flowers in the picture frame

Some mother's memory remains

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Does anyone know of any metal or rap songs about this?

Maybe "One" by Metallica?

from Wikipedia

The song's theme is based on Dalton Trumbo's 1939 novel Johnny Got His Gun. It is based on the story of a soldier whose body was severely damaged after he was hit by a German artillery shell during World War I. His arms, legs, eyes, mouth, nose and ears were gone and he could not see, speak, smell, or hear; but his mind functions perfectly, leaving him a prisoner in his own body

Can't You Tube at work, or I'd add the link for you.

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funny coincidence!

Just noticed this thread and before I could look for music....next in my random itunes shuffle was, Handsome Johnny, sung by Richie Havens at Woodstock, first time I've had a chance to listen to my new track. Excellent song :)

Two songs that get me every time are Wooden Ships - Crosby stills Nash & Young, and James Blunt- No Bravery. He wrote that amazing song just after getting back from Kosovo. Well, maybe it's more about war than soldiers.

Also:

On Up The Mountain - Jakob Dylan

War Is Kind - Jakob Dylan

Time To Go Home - Michael Franti & Spearhead (about Iraq)

Everybody's Gone To War - Nerina Pallot

Universal Soldier - Donovan

Spoon River - Sung by Steve Goodman written by Mike Smith -a traditional style folk song about the Civil War

Rages of Babylon - Joseph Arthur

"Do you notice, when we are gone

through the rages of babylon

to protect the land of the free

Will my family remember me?"

oh wait, this is metal, I think, although it's hard to say if the "warriors" are real or fantasy,lol. It is very inspiring though.

Warriors - Freedom call

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  • 2 weeks later...

"Soldier's Last Letter" - Ernest Tubb - 1944 (#1 on Billboard's Country Chart)

Merle Haggard also did a version of this song in 1971 (#3 on Billboard's Country Chart)

"Soldier's Last Letter"

When the postman delivered a letter

It filled her dear heart full of joy

But she didn't know till she read the inside

It was the last one from her darling boy.

Dear Mom, was the way that it started

I miss you so much, it went on

Mom, I didn't know, that I loved you so

But I'll prove it when this war is won.

I'm writing this down in a trench, Mom

Don't scold if it isn't so neat

You know as you did, when I was a kid

And I'd come home with mud on my feet.

The captain just gave us our orders

And Mom, we will carry them through.

I'll finish this letter the first chance I get

But now I'll just say I love you.

Then the mother's old hands began to tremble

And she fought against tears in her eyes

But they came unashamed for there was no name

And she knew that her darling had died.

That night as she knelt by her bedside

She prayed Lord above hear my plea

And protect all the sons that are fighting tonight

And dear God keep America free.

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If You're Reading This ~ Tim McGraw

If you’re reading this

And My mama's sitting there

Looks like I only got a one-way ticket over here

I sure wish I could give you one more kiss

And war was just a game we played when we were kids

Well I’m laying down my gun

I’m hanging up my boots

I’m up here with God

And we’re BOTH watching over you

So lay me down

In that open field out on the edge of town

And know my soul

Is where my momma always prayed that it would go

And if you’re reading this

I’m already home

If you’re reading this

Half way around the world

I won’t be there to see the birth of our little girl

I hope she looks like you

I hope she fights like me

Stands up for the innocent and the weak

I’m laying down my gun

I’m hanging up my boots

Tell dad I don’t regret that I followed in his shoes

So lay me down

In that open field out on the edge of town

And know my soul

Is where my momma always prayed that it would go

And if you’re reading this

I’m already home

If you’re reading this

There’s gonna come a day

When you move on and find someone else

And that’s okay

Just remember this

I’m in a better place

Where soldiers live in peace

And angels sing Amazing Grace

So lay me down

In that open field out on the edge of town

And know my soul

Is where my momma always prayed that it would go

And if you’re reading this

If you’re reading this

I’m already home

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  • 2 weeks later...

Thanks for all your work at coming up with suggestions! But I need more. :puppyeyes:

The angle of this story has taken a bit of a spin... and your help is once again in great demand - and will be very much appreciated. :)

I have a couple of new questions...

1. Do any of you know any soldiers who have fallen during any conflict? (maybe in your family ancestry, or friends or family) And if so, do you know what music/songs were played at their funeral, and why that specific song or piece of music was chosen?

2. Can anyone tell me about the history of bagpipes and soldier's funerals? I've googled until I'm blue, and the only site I could find that might have given me an answer was deemed "unsafe" by my computer security software. :crazy:

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Shawna, this might help.

Why bagpipes at a funeral?

Part of the answer might be that they are very mournful sounding.

But the only historical answer I could find relates to when the Irish first came to America. When they came they faced huge discrimination, signs reading NINA (No Irish Need Apply) were posted and it was very difficult for them to get jobs. They were forced to take the jobs that no one else wanted, jobs that were considered dirty and dangerous like police officers and firefighters. These dangerous jobs often resulted in deaths so at their funerals the Irish used their traditions, which included playing the bagpipes.

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Shawna, phil's apparently got the answer ... according to about.com. I googled as well, and found several sites. Try using "Celtic funeral traditions" as your search criteria.

Here are the complete details from about.com

Also regarding songs ... Amazing Grace is very often played/sung with bagpipe accompaniment at funerals. At least that is the most common that I have heard.

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"appropriate" doesn't really enter in, here. If it was a song that was played at a funeral for a loved one who died in service to their country, then the song is APPROPRIATE, because that person, or their family, loved it enough to honor them by playing it. :)

Who do you know, Lea, who had that song played at their funeral?

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Years ago DH and I picked up a hitcher from Astoria who sang us that song. He did an excellent job on it. He said he sang it at his brothers funeral.

I had heard the song years before and had forgotten the name of it. He told me what it was and I haven't forgotten it since :)

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I dug up a few more sites and a country song list for you.

U.S. Dept. Of Veterans Affairs - Memorial Day

USA.gov - Memorial Day and Memorial Day Weekend

Memorial Day Tribute

Also, check out Luke Stricklin and Keni Thomas.

Both of these artists are military veterans who sing about their experiences.

Maybe you can schedule an interview with one of them.

Luke Stricklin

Keni Thomas

Memorial Day Honors Songs:

8th of November - Big & Rich

50,000 Names - George Jones

A Soldier's Prayer - Collin Raye

American By God's Amazing Grace - Luke Stricklin

American Soldier - Toby Keith

Arlington - Trace Adkins

Ballad Of The Green Beret - Dolly Parton

Bullets - Lisa Carver

Coming Home - John Tigert

God Bless The Soldier - Rhonda Vincent

God, Family and Country - Craig Morgan

He's Coming Home - Cowboy Crush

Hero At Home - April Taylor

Home Free - Mason Douglas

Homeless Man - Blue Highway

I Just Came Back From A War - Darryl Worley

I Write A Little - Alabama

I'm Gonna Miss You - Dolly Parton

If I Don't Make It Back - Tracy Lawrence

Josephine - Colin Raye

Letters From Home - John Michael Montgomery

More Than A Name On A Wall - The Statler Brothers

My Side Of The World - Tammy Cochran

Ragged Old Flag - Johnny Cash

Red, White & Blue Night In Georgia - Megan Conner

Remembering - The Grascals

Riding With Private Malone - David Ball

Some Gave All - Billy Ray Cyrus

Thank You Vets - Paulette Carlson

The Bumper Of My S.U.V. - Chely Wright

The Other Little Soldier - Josh Gracin

They Also Serve - John Conlee

Till They Come Home - Rhonda Vincent

Two Soldiers - Blue Highway

Volunteers - Mark Erelli

Watching Over The Soldiers At Christmas - 3 Fox Drive with Charlie Daniels

Welcome Home - Dolly Parton

Wrote That In Blue - DeAnne Moore

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  • 3 weeks later...

the Soundtracks of the Soldiers

The final cut of this article is nothing - in any way - like what I set out to write several weeks ago. I was forging ahead with an article on Memorial Day songs... what sorts of songs do people play at their barbecues... it morphed into what is a REAL Memorial Day song? (what sorts of songs make you think of someone?) From there, I started to write about what sorts of songs do people play at their loved ones' funerals (because those would be the songs that person would be remembered by)...

Then came the day, pretty late into it, really, when I had the opportunity to talk to a soldier. Not just any soldier, but a member of the Green Berets. He was remarkably humble, saying they don't do what they do for glory, and prefer to stay out of the press... and then he shared with me some personal stories about the group of men he holds very near and dear to his heart; the men he calls his brothers. They are fellow Special Ops soldiers. And too many of them did not make it back from Afghanistan.

The part that changed the whole landscape of this article, however, was when he told me about his "war play list." The songs that soldiers use to psyche them up when they're about to go into battle. The idea was too intriguing to let go of...

So I hope you enjoy the results. :)

And this Memorial Day I hope you all send up a positive thought for those still fighting, and a remembrance to those who made it home.... and those who never did.

This article will be up only until Memorial Day, so hopefully you'll have a chance before then to have a peek.

Thank you all for all the help you gave me with the original... you are invaluable when it comes to this stuff! :) :)

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