Memorial Day, originally known as Decoration Day, originated after the American Civil War to commemorate the fallen Union soldiers of the Civil War. However, by the turn of the 20th century, Memorial Day celebrated Americans who have sacrificed their lives in all wars.
Some of your favorite country artists talk about what it means to be free because of the brave men and women willing to fight and sacrifice for our freedom as we lean into this Memorial Day Weekend..
For Memorial Day liners, click here.
Brandon Lay (Memorial Day) OC: …without you. :37
“My dad was in the National Guard for six years, and his dad was in the Army and in North Africa during World War II. One of my good buddies, Dan Berry, is a captain at Fort Campbell. I’m incredibly humbled every time I’m around those guys, because it really just puts it in perspective. Memorial Day is a special time to remember and gain perspective that everything we enjoy comes with a price, and these guys have paid the ultimate price and so have their families. So, to anybody that’s served in the military, we salute you, and we couldn’t have the life we have without you.”
Dierks (Memorial Day) OC: …upon them. :37
“On the most basic level, I think, for me on the road, I just think about being gone two, three days at a time, maybe a couple of weeks at a time, you know. That seems like a long time when you have kids and family, but these soldiers, they’re gone for months and years at a time – they’re doing 12 to 15 to 18 months — and they have family back home. That, in itself, is such a huge sacrifice, and that’s just the beginning of it. That’s just scratching the surface of what these guys [and gals] are doing every day – preparing for battle, actually being in battle, being wounded in battle, sometimes dying in battle. So, this country obviously, we would not exist without those courageous men and women, and our future depends upon them.”
Eric Church (grandfathers in WW2) OC: …touching to me. :21
“Both of my grandfathers were World War II veterans. I mean, that’s something that’s very rare. I’m not unique, you know. There’s a lot of people out there like that that their grandfathers served. The way that I was raised was very much red, white and blue and very patriotic, and I think that it’s the fact that what they give up is the real thing that’s very touching to me.”
Eric Church (Memorial Day) OC: …those freedoms. “It’s about, especially the soldiers I come in contact with on the road. And not only that, to be able to make the music that I’m able to make, to say what I want to say, and that freedom to be able to do those things and to be in a country where we’re able to do that and to be in a country where we’re able to play that stuff on the radio. I don’t think you’re going to have any America argue that America isn’t the best place to live, and I’m certainly one of them. I’m very proud to be from here and very proud that we have the soldiers. I know there are a lot of other countries out there in the world that don’t want to live the way we do, and that’s fine, they can keep living the way they are, but I’m very proud of it. I think that’s a time to celebrate being proud to be an American and celebrate those freedoms…and celebrate the people that are over fighting for those freedoms.”
Jordan Davis (Memorial Day) OC: …gave it all. :29
“You know, both my grandparents were in the service; my cousin was also a Marine, so the military hits close to home. I mean I can’t say enough about ‘em. We live in the best country in the world, and it’s because of those guys and because of the people that came before ‘em. So, I can’t thank ‘em enough. I wish we had Memorial Day every day, but it is great to have one day to thank the men and the women that gave it all.”
Keith Urban (Memorial Day) OC: …families too. :35
“It’s one of the things I comment on fairly regularly when we’re playing concerts, especially outdoor festivals, where I look around and think it’s just amazing freedom to be able to do this, and it doesn’t effortlessly just come, you know? A lot of people are devoting their life, their entire life, to going out and protecting and defending and honoring their own calling. So, I feel immensely grateful for all of the men and women in the military, all in the armed forces, all around the world. The sacrifice they make, especially their families too.
Sam Hunt (Memorial Day) OC: …those freedoms. :40
“My granddad was in World World II. He was on the USS Texas battleship, and he was over at Normandy and over near Japan and he spent a lot of time right in the thick of World War II. He really took pride in what that meant, and it was something I got to see it first hand, as somebody who got to experience that; somebody who had that galvanized American trait. It’s hard to describe it. It was just somebody who’s been through that, seen that and really appreciates what that means. I try to channel that into my life, because I haven’t fought in any war, but I have a ton of respect for folks who have, folks who’ve sacrificed, families who’ve lost lives and just sacrificed years of their own lives and time and effort to maintain those freedoms.”