Top 10 Best Patriotic Country Songs of All Time

Tragedy, War, and Patriotic Heroes

It's probably safe to say that no American music genre expresses patriotism as profoundly as country music. This play list of ten of the best patriotic country music songs of all time includes several that balance the tragedy and costs of war with the love of the United States. 

Each song in our collection has a description, links to download the song. You can also watch the video, if available, and compare prices on the album where the song can be found.

10
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"Courtesy of the Red, White and Blue" - Toby Keith

Toby Keith performs during Stagecoach: California's Country Music Festival 2010 at The Empire Polo Club in Indio, California.
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Toby Keith got a lot of grief over writing this song, and talking about "putting a boot in your ass, it's the American way." It was written after the 9-11 incident and helps us remember that there are men dying so we can sleep at peace each night. The music starts soft and acoustic but builds to a powerful guitar heavy chorus.
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09
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"If You're Reading This" - Tim McGraw

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Tim McGraw first performed this song on the ACM Awards show in 2007. The story is that of a soldier who has passed on, and his wishes about how he'd like to be remembered, and where he'd like to be buried. The tempo is slower, the instrumentation is sparse and Tim's vocals are very emotional. With our country involved in multiple wars, this song speaks to something too many families have experienced.
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Watch Video (This is not the ACM performance, but a tribute video with Tim's performance as the music. Very touching.)
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08
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"Arlington" - Trace Adkins

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This song is deeply touching as we see the war from a soldier's perspective after he dies in battle. The tempo is slow, and the music acoustic, with Trace Adkins' rumbling baritone telling the story. The most moving part is when the soldier meets his grandfather, who is also buried at Arlington, and the lyrics say, "And it gave me a chill, when he clicked his heels and saluted me."

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07
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"8th of November" - Big & Rich

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This song is the true story of Vietnam veteran Niles Harris, who survived a battle that took place on Hill 65 in War Zone D on Nov. 8, 1965. He was part of the Army's 173rd Airborne Brigade and lost forty-eight of his fellow comrades. The song has a slow dirge-like quality to it, fitting for the subject, and the video is amazing.


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06
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"Fighting Side of Me" - Merle Haggard

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This song is from the Vietnam era. Merle Haggard talks about how everyone has the right to stand up for what they believe, but don't run down the country. The tempo of the song is mid-range, with a strumming guitar along with the powerful lyrics.

Everyone has the right to their own opinion in this country, but this song talks frankly about how one's outspoken opinion might make someone else feel about it. It's possible to be against the war while still favoring the fighting forces involved in it.​


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05
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"Only In America" - Brooks & Dunn

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How lucky we are to live in a country where so much is possible. This song has a strong uptempo country rock feel, with a heavy guitar line. By the end of the first chorus, you'll be pumping your fist and singing along. Listening to this definitely makes me proud to be an American.

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04
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"God Bless the USA" - Lee Greenwood

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This powerful song is sometimes referred to as the unofficial National Anthem. With guitar-driven verses and choruses that really showcase Greenwood's vocals, it's a song that can really bring out the patriotic spirit just by listening. Even though this came out 25 years ago, everything still rings true. How can you hear this song and not feel "proud to be an American"?

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03
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"The Ballad of Ira Hayes" - Johnny Cash

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"The Ballad of Ira Hayes" is a folk song written by Peter LaFarge, and it has been recorded by many different artists, from Bob Dylan to Pete Seeger, Townes Van Zandt, and Johnny Cash among them. The version by Johnny Cash reached No. 3 on the charts, telling the true story of a Pima Indian that served in the Marine Corps in World War II, who was one of the men that raised the flag over Iwo Jima. After returning home from war, he suffered from alcoholism, which ended up claiming his life. Cash's version uses recited verses and sung choruses, with a sparse acoustic arrangement to go along with the somber song.

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02
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"Some Gave All" - Billy Ray Cyrus

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So many people think that Billy Ray Cyrus is all about "Achy Breaky Heart," but this touching ballad is another of his many hits that remind us that "all gave some, some gave all" and we should always honor those people. Cyrus makes good use of his vocal ability with a heartfelt performance on this loving tribute to the men and women that fight for our freedom each day.

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01
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"Where Were You (When the World Stopped Turning)" - Alan Jackson

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I bet you can remember where you were when the 9-11 attacks took place. Alan Jackson gives us visual references and reminds us not to forget. He performed this song acoustically at the 2001 CMA Awards, just two months after the attacks, and the whole country took notice. The vocals are sung from the heart, and you can feel his anguish in every word.

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