Bullet Music Remembers The Songs Celebrating Our Armed Forces
Armed Forces Day was initially created by Louis Johnson, US Secretary of State, to combine what were once separate honorary days for the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, and Coast Guard into one unified event under the umbrella of The Department of Defense. Each year, Armed Forces Day is celebrated on the third Saturday of May, however, some reserve units celebrate over a week span or on various days in May depending on training schedules.
The purpose is to expand public understanding of the types of jobs performed throughout the military, as well as to look into the role of the military in civilian life. Parades, air shows, open houses, receptions and educational events are held nationwide. Military personnel and their families come together and receive love and community acknowledgment for the sacrifices and successes they have endured while living a serving and sacrificing.
Every celebration needs music, though. At least, we think so. Here are a few songs from various genres and artists that recognize and appreciate the Armed Forces through insightful lyrics and catchy beats. Bullet Music would like to thank the men and women from all of our various armed forces: active, retired, and departed. They ensure that we have the opportunity to continue a life full of freedom. It is a thank you that they deeply deserve and limiting it to one day a year just doesn't quite seem to be enough.
From all of us to everyone in the United States Armed Forces, thank you!
3 Doors Down - "When I'm Gone"
To start the list, we have platinum rock band 3 Doors Down. Band member Chris Henderson, rhythm guitarist who served in the Navy, Army, and Navy Reserves. The band took to the high season a goodwill tour in 2002 where they performed on board a US aircraft carrier while it was deployed to the Mediterranean, stopping at naval stations in Spain and Italy.
"When I'm Gone" has been a celebrated hit for the band and was recorded while the band performed on the U.S.S. George Washington. The band also donated $1 of each sale of their Time Of My Life album for a one month period in 2011 to The Home Depot Foundation's veteran housing initiatives.
Metallica - "Don't Tread On Me"
The name, "Don't Tread On Me' is the motto of the Gadsden flag, used by the Continental Marines during the American Revolution. James Hetfield, the writer of the song, stated "We got called a political band around . . . And Justice for All, and it really scared us, because that's not what we want to write about forever. We've got other things to think about. 'Don't Tread on Me' was quotes from military people back in the Revolutionary War. I didn't come up with too much of the shit on my own. It's about a flag, a snake, and a symbol. There's nothing wrong with being proud of where you're from. There's some patriotism in there, yeah."
This quote came about during a Rolling Stone interview in 1993 when he was asked about the band's stance on the war after receiving criticism from fans for the conflicting tones of the albums. Hetfield's response avoided having much of a stance at all.
Johnny Cash - "I Won't Back Down"
A serving member of the US Air Force, Johnny Cash always had military pride. He released "I Won't Back Down" in 2000 on his album American III: Solitary Man and the song was instantly well received and would later be used in a tribute to the Armed Forces sponsored by the US Army.
John Michael Montgomery - "Letters From Home"
The video for the hit single features scenes from an active war zone flashes home to family members who pen letters of encouragement, and back to scenes of soldiers receiving them on mail day. As the soldiers read their letters and share them with others, viewers see real life reactions narrated through Montgomery's lyrics. If you can get through it without a few tears, you're doing better than me.
Charlie Daniels Band - "In America"
Released in 1980, the song touched on a variety of problems facing America at the time; including things like the Watergate scandal, the Iran hostage crisis, and record high unemployment rates, Daniels and company hit all the hot buttons. Treading on a fine line of criticism, "Yeah, we're walking real proud, and we're talkin' real loud again (in America) / You never did think that it would happen again, while maintaining patriotism. / This lady may have stumbled, but she ain't never fell."
The song was an anthem. Fast forward 30 years and the hit popped up on the charts again in 2001 after the World Trade Center attack. Americans found comfort behind lines like, "We'll all stick together and you can take that to the bank"
The Clash - "Rock The Casbah"
Released in 1982, the song was selected by Armed Forces Radio as the first song broadcasted during Operation Desert Storm, solidifying its place on the military music charts. Lead singer Joe Strummer was devastated over its usage and the fact that the US thought of the song as anti-Iraq and even threatened to leave the band. The ongoing struggle with the popularity of the song and the band's connection to it resulted in a change in the creative future of the band, which ended with them breaking up in 1985.
Five Finger Death Punch - "No One Gets Left Behind"
As if the title weren't clear enough, lyrics such as, "No one gets left behind, we stand and fight together / No one gets left behind, or we all die alone / Politicians banking in their greed / No idea on how to be all they can be."
The lyrics exemplify the attitude of unity within the armed forces. The song also serves as a reminder to recognize the sacrifice of service and commit to each other rather than anything that may tear us apart.
These tunes are a permanent reminder of the people who commit their life's work to our service and protection. May is Military Appreciation Month, but any time is a good time to thank a solider.