July 2016

Lily's Top 5 Patriotic Movies & Songs

Author: Lily Bartell

1. “Where the Stars and Stripes and the Eagle Fly” by Aaron Tippin (2002)
The music video for this song shows images from 9/11, police officers, military men and women, and Americans of different religions, races, and backgrounds. Tippin said in an interview, “I haven’t had the honor to serve this country like so many young men and women out there. I just hope that I’m at least half-serving my country by serving those who serve us.” This song debuted in response to 9/11 and peaked at no. 2 on the U.S. Billboard Hot Country Songs chart and no. 20 on the Billboard U.S. Hot 100 chart.

2. “God Bless the USA” by Lee Greenwood (1992)
“I’m proud to be an American where at least I know I’m free, and I won’t forget the men who died who gave that right to me,” rang through the radio at the song’s release, but became particularly popular after 9/11 and was re-released in October of 2001. It peaked at no. 7 on the U.S. Billboard Country Songs chart and peaked at no. 16 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 in 2001. Greenwood was appointed by President George W. Bush to serve on the National Council on the Arts and continues to perform to patriotic-minded crowds.

3. “Only in America” by Brooks & Dunn (2001)
This song, written by Kix Brooks, Don Cook, and Ronnie Rogers, was released in June of 2001. It outlines the freedoms and opportunities available in America; its music video was filmed in New York City and features the Twin Towers. “Only in America” peaked at no. 1 on the U.S. Billboard Hot Country Songs chart. The song and its upbeat and hopeful rhythm has been used during campaigns for President George W. Bush, President Obama, Newt Gingrich, and Mitt Romney, to name a few.

4. “American Soldier” by Toby Keith (2003)
This somber song describes the struggles and triumphs U.S. soldiers experience when fighting for their country and for their families back home. The lyric, “I will always do my duty, no matter what the price; I’ve counted up the cost, I know the sacrifice… if dying’s asked of me, I’ll bear that cross with honor, ’cause freedom don’t come free,” sent shivers down the backs of listeners soon after the peak of the Iraq war.

5. “The Star-Spangled Banner” by Francis Scott Key and John Stafford Smith (1814)
One of the most covered patriotic songs, and our national anthem, it serves as an example of our country’s short history and mission to become the “land of the free and the home of the brave.” Originally penned during the Battle of Fort McHenry in the War of 1812, this song was inspired by the flag flown after the U.S. victory. Herbert Hoover signed a congressional resolution in 1931, which made “The Star-Spangled Banner” this country’s national anthem.

1. Field of Dreams (1989)
We have all heard, “If you build it, he will come,” and what’s more American than baseball? Kevin Costner plays Ray Kinsella, an Iowa farmer, baseball-lover, who has issues with his father; he hears a voice telling him to build a baseball field where some of his corn crops reside. He decides to build the field facing skepticism from his wife and brother-in-law, but support from a famous writer and director, Terence Mann, played by James Earl Jones. Not to give away the ending, but Ray gets to play baseball with some old stars, builds a strong bond with his family and friends, and works to resolve the issues with his dad.

2. Mr. Smith Goes to Washington (1939)
This black and white flick is a political comedy and drama that endured some controversy when it debuted. In the film, a U.S. senator dies and there are problems replacing his seat. In James Stewart’s famous speech from this movie, he explains why the governmental system is corrupt and says that everyone in the U.S. should be equal regardless of race, color or creed: “There’s no place out there for graft or greed or lies or compromise with human liberties.” It was nominated for 11 Academy Awards and won for Best Original Story. The film was added to the United States National Film Registry in the Library of Congress in 1989.

3. American Sniper (2014)
This recent film, directed by Clint Eastwood, is based on a true story. Bradley Cooper stars as U.S. Navy SEAL sniper Chris Kyle. The film presents a behind-the-scenes view of what it is like to be a sniper during wartime. Kyle goes on four tours and is responsible for over 160 kills, while his wife and two children wait at home. When he returns from war, he struggles with assimilating into everyday life. This movie, though sad and intense at times, paints a patriotic picture of the ups and downs of those involved in the military and primarily the difficulties faced by a sniper.

4. The Patriot (2000)
This American Revolution historical fiction film starring Mel Gibson explores what the beginning of this country entailed and how our forefathers fought for our rights and liberties. The film was entirely filmed in South Carolina including Charleston and Rock Hill. It depicts the issues and battles in the Southern tier of the war. Nominated for three Academy Awards and recipient of several guild awards, The Patriot continues to express the fight America endured to become its own separate country, free from English rule.

5. Miracle (2004)
This film documents the U.S. hockey team’s victory in the 1980 Winter Olympics against the Soviet team. It chronicles the issues within the team as well as the rivalry between the U.S. and the Soviets. Kurt Russell plays head coach Herb Brooks and leads the team through each hardship and to a gold medal win. The movie grossed over $65 million worldwide and demonstrates the passion behind American sports. 

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