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Musical Memorial Day

Memorial_day_vintage_child_2 Most of us will, in some form, honor and remember our sailors, soldiers and airmen and women this Memorial Day.

Whether it be at official parades or other ceremonies or simply at personal outings, music is likely to be a part of the event. So I've compiled a personal list of songs that I would include. Note to link-clickers: Most of the ones below go directly to sound clips, so be prepared.

Of course, the national anthem tops the list. Today is much more appropriate for listening to the Star Spangled Banner, rather than its overused (and incongruous) playing before sporting events. Does anyone know why we routinely invoke our country's heritage before every kick-off or first pitch? Do other nations do this, too?

For getting the patriotic spirit soaring, you have to have the March King's stirring Stars and Stripes Forever. This version is by the Dallas Wind Symphony and is on their Strictly Sousa CD.

And one more banner-related tune: You're a Grand Old Flag. I blogged about this song last Flag Day.

I've also got to include a couple of more contemporary compositions.

An all-time favorite is Ray Charles' rendition of America. This isn't the best quality recording, but any Ray is good Ray.

And from the heart of Texas, I recommend Bruce Robison's Travelin' Soldier. This song about a young man who didn't make it back from Viet Nam made me cry the first time I heard it. I still tear up every time it plays.

I'm not alone. The Dixie Chicks' version of the song made a recent list of listener-selected saddest songs. On this one, you have to click the audio player icon to hear it, which is a good thing; that way you can make sure you're alone so others won't see you sob either!

Finally, since this is, sadly, a day to remember and honor those who died while in our country's military service, I have to end with Taps.

Vintage postcard image courtesy of MemorialDay.org.


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