Things I’m Doing: Singing Patriotic Lullabies

For better or worse, when I’m home, when I put the kids to bed, I still say prayers and sing songs. Yes. I sing. And so far, none of my kids have woken up and complained of nightmares. I’m not Frank Sinatra. Heck, I’m not even John Mayer (who is, I think we can all agree, an awful singer with awful songs …right?). But I hit about 70% of the notes I’m trying to hit and the kids haven’t complained …and my wife has never had a heart-to-heart and suggested that I read poetry, maybe, instead.

This week is a theme week and I’m singing “patriotic songs” in honor of the 4th of July, which I explained to my kids is the day American invented fireworks and hot dogs, and it’s also the day of the “great furniture store sale”, a day in American history when the people took to the streets and burned chairs and couches and demanded lower prices on furniture – and that, kids, is why you hear so many furniture ads on the radio right before the 4th of July.

I think kids should know their history.

Last night (because I have 3 kids and I sang each kid two songs), I burned through 5 classic Americana anthems (I think “anthem” is the right word). Should’ve been six songs, but one of the girls wanted to hear “Grand Ol’ Flag”, again. I think I know enough songs to sing some new ones every night, but am I singing the right American songs? For example, today I’m going to teach myself (well, remind myself) “Battle Hymn of the Republic” and “The Caisson Song”. Maybe even “Wild Blue Yonder.”

But now this is where you come in, dear reader. Keeping in mind I won’t sing anything by Lee Greenwood or Toby Keith or anything written after 1950 …what am I missing? I’m looking for “standards.” I won’t be up there singing James Brown’s “Livin’ in America” or “We Are the World”. Do you get what I’m saying? Do you get what I’m looking for?

Here’s my set list. What should be added (besides a drum, flute, and a guy carrying a flag)? Thanks for your help, and God Bless America.

“God Bless America”

“The Star Spangled Banner”

“Grand Ol’ Flag”

“Yankee Doodle Dandy”

“My Country ’tis of Thee”

“The Caisson Song” (if that’s actually the title)

“Wild Blue Yonder”

“Battle Hymn of the Republic”

“America the Beautiful” (that’s the one that starts ‘oh, beautiful for spacious skies’ …right?)


“This Land is Your Land”

“Anchor’s Aweigh”

“Ballad of the Green Berets”

“Over There”

“When Johnny Comes Marching Home”

“The Marine Corps Hymn (From the Halls of Montezuma)”

See? This list is woefully short and I know I’m missing some staples that “every American should know.”


Follow me on Twitter (@donkowalewski) or Instagram (don_kowalewski) or ‘Like’ Kaleidoscopic Raygun.

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