40 Memorial Day Songs That Celebrate and Honor

Published January 25, 2021
Tombstones with American flags at Arlington National Cemetery

Memorial Day songs for your patriotic playlist are a great way to honor those who have served to protect American freedom and liberties. You can find plenty of appropriate Memorial Day songs to make your day of remembrance and celebration extra special.

Traditional Memorial Day Songs

Unlike the Fourth of July, there aren't any traditional Memorial Day songs. However, military marching songs can often played for a traditional Memorial Day celebration. The newly created Space Force (Est 2019) is the only US military branch that doesn't have an official song, but many musicians have submitted proposals for consideration.

1. The Star-Spangled Banner

The United States National Anthem, The Star-Spangled Banner, is the most recognized American patriotic and traditional song. It is played at government events and ceremonies, as well as opening ceremonies for American sports and other events.

The National Anthem is performed by all branches of the US Military.

2. The Stars and Stripes Forever

What could be more appropriate for a Memorial Day song than John Philip Sousa's The Stars and Stripes Forever? John Philip Sousa wrote over 100 marches, but The Stars and Stripes Forever is the most widely acclaimed since it premiered in 1897. In 1987, it became the official march for the United States of America.

3. Wild Blue Yonder

The US Air Force marching song was originally titled, Off We Go Into the Wild Blue Yonder. However, it was officially changed in 1947 when the Air Force split from the Army Air Corps to from its own military branch. The original melody and first verse were written by Robert MacArthur Crawford in 1939.

4. Marines' Hymn

The Marines' Hymn was originally the march section of a comic opera, Genevieve de Brabant, by Jacques Offenbach, which was first performed in 1859. It became the official US Marines' Hymn in 1929 and is the oldest official US military song.

5. The Army Goes Rolling Along

The United States Army had a difficult time finding the right official song and settled on The Army Goes Rolling Along in 1956. Often called The Army Song, it was originally titled as the US Field Artillery March and then As the Caissons Go Rolling Along, and was finally titled, The Army Goes Rolling Along.

6. Anchors Aweigh

The United States Navy's fight song of the US Naval Academy has never been made the official marching song for the Navy. Charles A Zimmermann composed the song in 1906 and Alfred Hart Miles wrote the lyrics.

7. Semper Paratus

The official US Coast Guard song, Semper Paratus, is Latin for Always Ready. US Coast Guard Captain Francis Saltus Van Boskerck composed the song in 1927, and it was officially accepted in 1928.

8. Armed Forces Medley

You may prefer listening to all of the US military songs. In 2016, The National Symphony Orchestra gave a National Memorial Day Concert. The symphony performed the Armed Forces Medley, a compilation of each of the US military branches' march songs for a truly patriotic rendition.

Memorial Day Folk Songs and Patriotic Songs

There are many patriotic songs that have been sung by Americans for decades and beyond. These songs were taught to school children as part of their civic studies in American history.

9. God Bless America

General Wilson, Navy Petty Officer, 1st Class (Ret) sings God Bless America with a truly amazing voice!

10. America the Beautiful

The Portland Choir & Orchestra sings America the Beautiful.

11. This Land Is Your Land

Woody Guthrie signs his iconic patriotic song, This Land is Your Land.

12. The Battle Hymn of the Republic

The Battle Hymn of the Republic was a popular Civil War era song and is performed by the United States Army field band.

13. My Country 'Tis of Thee

The Soldiers Chorus of the United States Army Field band sing, My Country 'Tis of Thee.

14. You're a Grand Old Flag

The Tabernacle Choirs sings You're a Grand Old Flag.

15. God Bless the USA

Lee Greenwood's God Bless the USA is an iconic patriotic song. In this performance, Lee is joined by the US Air Force Band and the Singing Sergeants.

16. Yankee Doodle Dandy

This American Song was sung before the Seven Years' War (1756-1763 war between Britain and France), and the American Revolutionary War (1775-1783). It is also Connecticut's state anthem.

17. Over There

George M. Cohan's 1917 song, Over There, was a popular song during both Worl Wars.

Military Tribute Songs

However, you can find a few military tribute songs that may be appropriate choices for Memorial Day services. You have many great choices.

18. Memorial Day Song

Coffey Anderson performs the Memorial Day Song in gratitude of those who died for America's freedom.

19. Ballad of the Green Berets

Sgt. Barry Sadler was a Green Beret medic wrote and sang the 1966 popular song, Ballad of the Green Berets.

20. American Soldier by Toby Keith

American Soldier is a moving tribute song by Toby Keith.

21. Some Gave It All

Billy Ray Cyrus's Some Gave It All is a popular song among American patriots.

22. Die Tryin by Chase Rice

Die Tryin is a military tribute to all who serve. This video features photos of American soldiers stationed around the world along with a few family photos.

23. More Than a Name on a Wall

The harmony of The Statler Brothers in their song, More than a Name on a Wall, is iconic. The song pays tribute to the fallen soldiers who are memorialized on The Vietnam Veterans Memorial wall.

24. A Soldier's Memoir

Mitch Rossell pays tribute to soldiers with the song, A Soldier's Memoir.

25. Still a Soldier

Trace Adkins performs Still a Soldier.

26. One More Soldier

Eddie Money performed One More Soldier at Brazos Nights in Waco.

27. If You're Reading This

Tim McGraw's If You're Reading This pays emotional tribute to the fallen soldier.

28. Arlington

Trace Adkins' Arlington is a tribute to those US military heroes buried in the Arlington National Cemetery. The cemetery is located in Arlington County, Virginia and lies across from Washington, DC on the other side of the Potomac River.

29. Soldier's Last Letter

Merle Haggard's song, Soldier's Last Letter, is a tribute to soldiers and often found on Memorial Day playlists.

What Songs Are Appropriate for Memorial Day?

You can create your own traditional Memorial Day songs by selecting the ones that appeal the most to you on a deep emotional level. When you select songs that strike a chord with your brand of patriotism, then you make Memorial Day a day you can share with fellow Americans.

30. American Boy

Eddie Rabbit's song American Boy describes a typical patriotic American young man.

31. American Made

The Oak Ridge Boys' American Made is a fun song about an American love story.

32. Only in America

Brooks & Dunn offer you Only in America as an excellent song for your patriotic Memorial Day playlist.

33. Color Me America

Dolly Parton's Color Me America expresses how she feels about being an American.

34. America

Neil Diamond's America is dedicated to his grandmother who over 100 years ago, was a 12-year-old child who came to America with her parents.

35. American Honey

Lady Antebellum's song, American Honey, is a good song for your Memorial Day playlist.

36. We're an American Band

You may want to add this fun quirky song by Grand Funk about what it's like being an American Band!

37. R.O.C.K. in the USA

You'll find R.O.C.K. in the USA is a great traveling song to play when driving to a Memorial Day event.

38. Living in America

James Brown delivers a great song for any American, with Living in America.

39. Home

Dierks Bentley provokes sentimental imageries of America in his song, Home.

40. Where the Stars and Stripes and the Eagle Fly

Aaron Tippin describes what it means to be an American with the commitment of giving back to the country with his song, Where the Stars and Stripes and the Eagle Fly.

Playlist of 40 Memorial Day Songs You'll Love

Memorial Day is a celebration of America and the heroes who give their lives for their fellow citizens to have a life of liberty, freedom, and happiness. You can create a great playlist with 40 Memorial Day songs you'll surely love.

40 Memorial Day Songs That Celebrate and Honor