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Old 04-18-2013, 11:23 PM
JohnW JohnW is offline
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Join Date: Jan 2011
Location: Rockport, MA USA
Posts: 608
Default Re: Patriotic American song ideas for Memorial Day gig?

Memorial Day is a somber event. A day to remember men and women who died serving in the armed forces, not just those who have served and not just another 3 day weekend. I know it's the unofficial start of summer, barbecues, drinking in t-shirts, etc. And don't get me wrong- that stuff should still go on. But it is something else.

I think a moment of silence at the beginning of your gig will have far greater impact than a couple of themed hits. Then, after everyone has had a moment to reflect on the meaning of the day...let 'er rip!

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

-Lt. Col. John D McCrae, MD, Canadian Army 1915


Maybe dedicate a song or two. We do a Memorial Day parade every year and last year in Holliston, MA one of the speeches was by a buddy of a young soldier from that town in Vietnam. He had just gotten tape of "Wouldn't It Be Nice" from his girlfriend and was wowed by it as he played it a few times for his buddy. A few hours later he was killed in a reconnaissance mission. That type of story isn't unique and I'm sure you could come up with a thoughtful dedication to someone in the audience who lost a loved one in action.

As to your original question- I'd go with "We're an American Band". Fairly neutral theme. On second thought, "Fortunate Son" by CCR- even though it's politically tinged, it's a classic, fairly simple and rocks hard.

-John
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