The U.S. celebrates Flag Day on June 14 to commemorate when the first American flag was introduced to the Continental Congress on June 14, 1777. President Woodrow Wilson established Flag Day with an official proclamation in 1916. Later in 1949, President Harry Truman signed legislation to make Flag Day a national holiday.
While Flag Day is not an official federal holiday, you can still take a few minutes today to celebrate the Red, White, and Blue, if you so choose. We picked a trifecta of country songs that do that very thing. Of course, country music is ripe with numerous flag-flying tunes, including Lee Greenwood’s “God Bless the USA,” Toby Keith’s “Courtesy of the Red, White and Blue,” Brad Paisley’s “American Flag on the Moon,” Charlie Daniels’ “This Ain’t No Rag, It’s a Flag,” and more.
‘Ragged Old Flag’ – Johnny Cash
Penned by Johnny Cash during the ongoing Vietnam War and Watergate scandal in 1974, “Ragged Old Flag” was the title track to his 1974 album. Cash’s rendition of the song served as a spoken-word pledge: “So we raise her up every morning / We take her down every night / We don’t let her touch the ground and we fold her up right / On second thought, I do like to brag / ‘Cause I’m mighty proud of that ragged old flag.”
While the song only reached No. 31 on the Billboard Hot Country Songs chart, it’s pro-flag sentiments have kept it relevant for more than 40 years. The tune made an appearance during the lead-in to the 2020 Super Bowl, while Eric Church performed it during the 2020 ACM Awards.
‘Where the Stars and Stripes and the Eagles Fly’ – Aaron Tippin
Aaron Tippin co-penned ‘Where the Stars and Stripes and the Eagles Fly’ in 2000, but the tune didn’t make the cut for his 2000 album, People Like Us. However, in the wake of the September 11 attacks, Aaron recorded the song on Sept. 13. He released it on Sept. 17, with proceeds benefiting the Red Cross.
In the third verse, Aaron crooned: “I pledge allegiance to this flag / And if that bothers you well that’s too bad / But if you got pride and you’re proud you do / Hey we could use some more like me and you / Where the stars and stripes and the eagle fly.”
The song reached No. 2 on the Billboard Hot Country Songs chart. Aaron included it on his 2002 album, Stars & Stripes.
‘Chicken Fried’ – Zac Brown Band
Zac Brown co-penned “Chicken Fried” about many of the things he loved regarding his Southern upbringing in Georgia. The tune was a work in progress with co-writer Wyatt Durrette for many years. After the September 11 attacks, Zac added the patriotic-inspired third verse: “I thank God for my life / And for the stars and stripes / May freedom forever fly, let it ring.”
Zac Brown Band released “Chicken Fried” as their debut single in 2008. The tune eventually hit No. 1 on the Billboard Country Airplay chart. Of course, ZBB has been a power player in country music ever since.