4 Songs Dolly Parton Wrote Memorializing Soldiers and Commemorating Freedom and Patriotism

In celebration and remembered those who serve or served in the armed forces, Dolly Parton has always had a story to share in the songs she wrote or covers of traditionals “The Ballad of the Green Beret,” and “When Johnny Comes Marching Home” from her 2003 patriotic album For God and Country and like “The Cruel War” from her 2005 release Those Were the Days. Here are four songs Parton wrote memorializing and saluting America, its troops, and all their sacrifices.

Videos by American Songwriter

1. “Daddy Won’t Be Home Anymore” (1970)

Written by Dolly Parton

Released on Parton’s 1970 compilation As Long as I Love, “Daddy Won’t Be Home Anymore” is told from the perspective of a woman who has lost her husband serving in the war and has to tell her children that he won’t be home again.

As I look around the little house we were so happy in
I think of all the happy times we’ll never see again
Then I break down and start to cry, the children ask what for
I can’t find a way to tell them that Daddy won’t be home anymore
Each night before they go to sleep they fold their little hands

And say a prayer for Daddy fighting in their far-off land
So tonight I’ll help them say their prayers like I’ve always done before
God give me courage to tell them that Daddy won’t be home anymore

But honey as for me there’ll never be another man
And I’ll bring our children up the best way that I can
You died for what you thought was right that much I know for sure
But the children just can’t understand why Daddy won’t be home anymore

[RELATED: The “Secret Song” Dolly Parton Regrets Locking Up Until She’s 99 Years Old]

2. “Light of a Clear Blue Morning” (1977)

Written by Dolly Parton

Originally released on her 1977 album New Harvest…First Gathering, “Light of a Clear Blue Morning” took on new meaning nearly 30 years later, when Parton released it on her 2003 patriotic and spiritual album For God and Country.

Initially, Parton wrote the song about parting ways with her longtime collaborator and mentor Porter Wagoner. When rerecorded and released by Parton post-9/11, the song delivered a more universal message of freedom.

It’s been a long dark night
And I’ve been a waitin’ for the morning
It’s been a long hard fight
But I see a brand new day a dawning
I’ve been looking for the sunshine
You know I ain’t seen it in so long
But everything’s gonna work out just fine
And everything’s gonna be all right
That’s been all wrong

‘Cause I can see the light of a clear blue morning
I can see the light of a brand new day
I can see the light of a clear blue morning
Oh, and everything’s gonna be all right
It’s gonna be okay

It’s been a long long time
Since I’ve known the taste of freedom
And those clinging vines
That had me bound, well I don’t need ’em
Oh, I’ve been like a captured eagle, you know an eagle’s born to fly
Now that I have won my freedom, like an eagle I am eager for the sky

3. “Welcome Home” (2003)

Written by Dolly Parton

Written in the aftermath of the attacks on September 11, Parton’s 43rd album, For God and Country, is a collection of covers of some well-known religious and patriotic songs—”The Star-Spangled Banner,” “God Bless America,” “My Country ‘Tis,” “The Ballad of the Green Beret”—along with six originals written by Parton, including “Light of a Clear Blue Morning,” along with “Red, White, and Bluegrass,” “I’m Gonna Miss You,” “Go to Hell,” and “Brave Little Soldier,” the story told from the perspective of solder in battle—I am marching through the valley filled with fear / My steps are sure and sturdy and my aim is straight and clear.

“We can’t give them enough praise and honor and thanks,” said Parton of the album. “I’ve always wanted to do a patriotic album and nothing could be more perfect than these days.”

Released as a single, “Welcome Home” is set around the anticipation, and sighs of relief at a son’s return home from war.

With great anticipation, he waited at the door
His only son was due from overseas
For months now he’d been waitin’ since he’d gone off to war
And his eyes were filled with tears of great relief

Welcome home, son
His loving arms held open and his heart so full of love
Welcome home, son
I’ve been praying and been hoping and I never did give up

I knew that you’d return to me
The place where you were meant to be
Rest now, for you’ve been gone too long
I heard him say as they embraced
I’ve waited so long for this day
My son, my very own

“I thought a lot of the moms and dads, people would appreciate this particular song because we lose somebody every day and it just breaks your heart,” shared Parton of the song. “But there are a lot of wonderful uplifting songs in the album, too. They’re not all sad. But a lot of them are touching on what we are going through now.”

[RELATED: Why Dolly Parton Refused to Let Elvis Presley Record “I Will Always Love You”]

4. “Color Me America”

Written by Dolly Parton

Also on For God and Country, Parton’s penultimate “Color Me America” is more an Independence Day song and is her missive for for more peace, justice, and unity within the patriotism of the red, white, and blue.

I am red and white and blue
These are colors that ring true
To all I am and feel and love and do
I stand proud and brave and tall
I want justice for us all
Color me America, red, white and blue

I see red when evil speaks
Spilling red blood on our streets
And I feel blue from grief and sorrow that it brings
But the white, the light of love
God’s own Spirit like a dove
Lifts us up and hands to us an olive branch

Oh, sweet freedom, may you stay
In our land and lives always
And may peace and beauty fill our hearts anew
And may we all stand up for you
May our thoughts and deeds be true
And be worthy of your stripes, red, white and blue

Photo: Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

Leave a Reply

Chart Check-In: 5 Super-Cool Songs that Were in the Top 40 This Week in 1980

Stevie Nicks Subtly Shouts Out Taylor Swift At California Show

Stevie Nicks Gives an “Iconic” Nod to Taylor Swift at California Show