Now, a couple of centuries later, we're still celebrating that independence, with backyard BBQs, parades, fireworks...and by singing those familiar, soul-rousing patriotic songs. We took a survey to see which songs most stir the hearts of our American Homecoming fans, and here are the top three:
#1: "God Bless the USA" (also referred to as "Proud to Be an American")
#2: The National Anthem, or "The Star-Spangled Banner"
#3: "God Bless America"
Wow, do you have a lot of love for "God Bless the USA"! Written and originally performed by Lee Greenwood in 1984, this tune quickly became a national favorite, with a resurgence in popularity after the World Trade Center was attached on September 11, 2001. Here's what some of you had to say about why you picked this song as number 1:
"'Proud to be an American' is one of my favorite patriotic songs because I am proud to be American and I love my country and the principles and Constitution it was founded upon. It truly is the land of opportunity and freedom and it is my prayer that people will turn to God as He is our only hope for the American dream to continue." - Christy DiBiase Durby
"'God Bless the USA' by either Lee Greenwood or Ivan Parker. There is something about those words of proudly standing next to you....I love the USA! What a heartfelt song about Americans standing straight and tall fighting for America. When we sing this in a crowd of people, and we all stand simultaneously shoulder to shoulder, tears running down our cheeks, holding hands, the emotions run high. God bless the USA!" - Lyn Ridenour
"I like Lee Greenwood's song 'God Bless The USA.' Several of my relatives and friends have fought in Vietnam , Korea or just were active in the Marines, Army and Navy. One person in particular is my uncle, Dale Helgeson, who fought in the Vietnam War and gave his life for his country. I praise God that we live in a free country where we can have freedom to worship God as we please." - Scott Eric Harvath
In the second spot on the list is the beloved American national anthem, "The Star-Spangled Banner." After seeing the attack on Fort McHenry during the War of 1812, Francis Scott Key was inspired to write "Defence of Fort McHenry," a poem set to a British tune. Over the years, it became known as the "The Star-Spangled Banner" because of Key's American flag imagery, and the song was officially adopted as the national anthem by a Congressional resolution in 1931, signed by President Herbert Hoover. This song was the favorite for many of you, leading to some very heartfelt responses.
"My husband and I have both served in our military! Proudly I might add too! There is no other song that still stirs me like...'Our National Anthem' ' Oh say can you see...' is still as important today as it was the day it was written. When our soldiers see that 'the flag was still there' with all they do to fight the wars we are involved with now...'the land of the free and home of the brave'!" - Susan Vance Pigeon
"I would have to say, my favorite USA patriotic song is: 'The Star-Spangled Banner.' I first heard Ernie Haase & Signature Sound do it in their video, Get Away Jordan--fantastic song, done with heart and soul. I enjoyed it so much...funny that a patriotic American Song can be enjoyed so much by a Canadian Homecoming fan". - Bonnie Hibbert
"During my retirement ceremony onboard USS IMPLICIT (MSO 455), the Captain asked me to say a few words about my Naval Career. I was facing 'OLD GLORY' and it all came to me - For love of country. Our National Anthem says it all and makes you proud to sing it. It still sends chills through me. GOD BLESS AMERICA!" - Donald Kraeger
"My favorite is the National Anthem. This last year I have joined the DAR and as I study what our service men and women have sacrificed for me throughout history, it makes me feel very blessed to be an American. God has blessed this country that was founded on Him. When I hear the 'Star Spangled Banner,' I get tears in my eyes for what it means, and the sacrifices that have been made." - Judy Crull
Rounding out the top three is "God Bless America," written in 1918 by Irving Berlin and revised by him 20 years later. The latter version became the signature song for singer Kate Smith, who first sang it on her radio show on Armistice Day, 1938. Some of you shared why this revered song touches your hearts:
"I like 'God Bless America.' I can't hear the song without shedding some tears as my Father served his country in the Air Force, making it a career. He sacrificed a lot, and that song reminds me of him and the reasons why he served for so many years and so proudly!" - Naomi Johnson Barnes
"I like 'God Bless America.' I recently heard Rachel West Kramer sing it at one of her concerts and I will never forget it. She began her concert with this song and everyone was on their feet. It's such a simple song but some of the best songs are." - Kelly Clark-Haemmerle
"I like 'God Bless America.' I thank God for America!" - Joey Cameron
We appreciate everyone who let us know their favorite patriotic song, and we are so grateful for all of our Homecoming readers, whether American or from other nations. May God bless you all!