Last Updated 05 Jan 2023

The Patriotism in Toby Keith’s Courtesy of the Red, White and Blue

Category Patriotism
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Toby Keith is known in the country music industry as a stereotypical cowboy.(2)

He was raised in Oklahoma, played football, and began singing country music.(1) When he first started his career no one knew he would write a song that instilled patriotism in many Americans. "Courtesy of the Red, White, and Blue" was written after a horrible day in American history. The song instilled patriotism back into America and when the troops were fighting it reminded them why they were fighting. The song also had much controversy but with it came publicity and record sales. "Courtesy of the Red, White, and Blue" changed how America felt after 9//11.

When the towers fell on September 11, 2001, people were devastated and rightfully so. America was hurt and everyone in one way or anther felt the pain, so when Toby Keith released "Courtesy of the Red, White and Blue" it was no shock that America rallied behind the song with a wave of patriotism "American girls, American guys, we'll always stand up and salute we'll always recognize when we see old glory flying, a lot of men dead so we can sleep in peace at night when we lay down our heads.” “Courtesy of the Red, White and Blue" by Toby Keith was written in response to 9/11 and brings out the true patriotism in America by tapping into the emotional side of Americans. Keith states, "It's an angry song, and people are angry."(4) Every American felt they were hit by the attack and everyone needed something to rally behind. This song perfectly matched how Americans felt and became a patriotic driving force for the country. The song allowed every American to be angry with those who attacked us. It caused everyone to want to "put a boot in their ass cause it's the American way."

The song was not intended for the entire country to hear. Toby Keith originally

planned to only play it in front of the troops live on USO tours.(6) As Keith played the Commandant of the Marine Core, James L. Jones recognized the power within the song. He encouraged Keith to release the song to the public, but Keith was hesitant. “If you want to serve your country, that is what you can do,”(7) Jones did get through to Keith and he released "Courtesy of the Red, White, and Blue." The song echoed what every enlisted man and women was feeling towards those who attacked the U.S. The song became an anthem for those wearing a uniform. When boots hit the ground the line "We'll put a boot in your ass cause it's the American way" it became a creed. The line was painted on tanks, Humvees, and even bombs that were being dropped.(3) As the war raged on it was the most popular song played on the radio in Afghanistan. When troops were being pulled from the area it was also voted to be the last song played on the radio. (7)"Courtesy of the Red, White, and Blue" was a true anthem for the troops motivating them to keep pushing forward to defend America.

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With the popularity came many critics "this song doesn't represent America and we should be ashamed of it." Even with the criticism most of America felt the song helped everyone get through a dark time, and instilled patriotism for the impending war. Dixie Chicks lead singer, Natalie Maines, thought the song made country music sound ignorant and a feud began between the two artists. Toby Keith portrayed her as Saddam Hussein at his concerts, while Maines wore a shirt that had FUTK, F*** U Toby Keith, at the country music awards.(5) The feud helped boost Keith's career though. He received so much publicity from the controversy that record sales soared. He claimed that if the feud continued he would hire Maines as his publicity agent because he was

selling more records than ever.(5) The controversy of the song also had toby Keith removed from the Fourth of July concert on ABC. The host of the show did not like the lyrics of the song and pulled Toby Keith from performing. The song was massively boosted by all the controversy brought up. Making "Courtesy of the Red White and Blue" the most successful song recorded by Toby Keith.

America was in a dark place after September 11, Toby Keith helped inspire America to rise up from the fire and be stronger than ever. "Courtesy of the Red, White, and Blue" instilled patriotism everywhere it wasn't before. The song had much controversy but to the troops fighting for our freedom it was an anthem, reminding them why they were fighting. The song sold millions of copies and was heard around the world. Toby Keith reminds us "You just can't forget these things. And you shouldn't ever forget." Through the song "Courtesy of the Red, White, and Blue."

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