Country Chatter

Trace Adkins “Arlington” Honors Fallen Soldiers


Marine Cpl. Patrick Nixon (age 21) of Gallatin, Tennessee, had a dream to be a history teacher when his service in the military was complete. Unfortunately, on March 30, 2003, Nixon and eight of his fellow Marines got caught in a deadly hail of fire when they were ambushed by terrorists while trying to secure a bridge. He became the first Marine from Tennessee killed during the war in Iraq.

Nixon’s story became the inspiration for songwriter Dave Trumball after meeting Nixon’s father. He and Jeremy Spillman were the co-writers of the anthem, “Arlington,” which was recorded by Trace Adkins and has become synonymous with Memorial Day.

“I knew that was the song I had been waiting a long time to record,” Adkins said. “I almost recorded ’Letters From Home,’ and then for some reason, I was thinking, ’It just doesn’t feel quite right.’ Of course, John Michael Montgomery had a hit with it — which was great. But then this song came along, and I said, ’Oh, there it is. That’s what I’ve been waiting for.’ It’s just a nonpolitical song. It doesn’t glorify war at all or anything like that. It’s just simply playing tribute and homage and respect to the people who gave that last full measure.”

The song, was written from the viewpoint of the fallen soldier who is brought to Arlington to his final resting place. The soldier first addresses how he always thought he was going to die an old man at home. Instead he is being buried,  “on this peaceful peace of property” which was set aside for those who paid with their life to be there. He moves on to remember the first time he saw the graveyard and finding his grandfather’s grave. Now, he has joined him in that cemetery. The song repeats the message of these soldiers who died heroes in the chorus,  “we’re thankful for those thankful for the things we’ve done” and asks that people don’t cry for these soldiers because they are finally at peace.

“Arlington,” was released in 2005, as the second single from Adkins’ album, Songs About Me. It made a moderate chart run, eventually working it’s way up to #16, and has become a signature song in Adkins career.  The simplified production of the ballad and low range that Trace and his producers apply, help to make it all the more haunting and help present the imagery of this soldier’s story.

Adkin’s performed the song at Arlington National Cemetery in 2015, for Wreaths Across America. The event honored the more than 400,000 soldiers, presidents and patriotic Americans who have played a part in our freedom.

Watch the video of Adkins’ performing at Arlington National Cemetery in December 2015 below:

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