Courtesy of Twitter
Courtesy of Twitter

John Rich Salutes Vietnam Veteran Who Inspired Big & Rich’s “The 8th Of November”

The country music duo, Big & Rich have always had a soft spot in their hearts for Veterans, but one man in particular stood out to them. In 2006, the country music duo Big & Rich released a song titled, “8th of November,” which was inspired by the Vietnam Veteran, Niles Harris. Now, 16 years later, John Rich took to social media to “salute” Harris once again. 

The country musician posted a photo of himself alongside Harris smiling at the camera and holding two custom whiskey bottles.

“Hanging out having a @RedneckRiviera #Whiskey with my friend Niles Harris!” he wrote in the caption. “His story of valor in Vietnam was the inspiration for the @bigandrich song #The8thOfNovember. Sir, we SALUTE you! #DrinkAmerican.”

As the third single off their album Comin’ to Your City, this song quickly became a hit for Big & Rich, peaking at No. 18 on the Billboard Hot Country Songs charts. Written 40 years after first meeting Harris, it tells his story of joining the Army at 19 years old, surviving the 1965 battle known as “8th of November,” and how the gruesome event impacted his life.

They sing, “On the eighth of November the angels were crying/ As they carried his brothers away/With the fire raining down and the hell all around/There were few men left standing that day/Saw the eagle fly through a clear blue sky/1965, the eighth of November.”

The music video opens with a strong statement by singer/songwriter/actor Kris Kristofferson. He can be heard describing Harris as “the guy who gave Big Kenny his top hat.” Kristofferson also gives Lawrence Joll an honorable mention as he was a medic who saved many lives during that battle.

This is not the first time Rich has shown his appreciation towards veterans and those currently serving. In July, he shared a photo of him and a 96-year-old WWII veteran at his Tennessee show.

“He and his generation are the reason we still have a country to fight for!” Rich wrote in his caption on Instagram. “God bless him, and ALL our veterans and active duty service members.” 

Generally, Rich is known to be rather outspoken when it comes to speaking on politics, falling in favor of the conservative side. He made that especially clear when he released a song earlier this year that slams president Joe Biden and challenges the conception that progressive ideology has brought “Progress” for America. 

“Stick your progress where the sun don’t shine/ keep your big mess away from me and mine/ if you leave us alone we’d all be just fine/ stick your progress where the sun don’t shine,” he sings in the chorus.

In an effort to make his statement heard, he shared the song via two notoriously free-speech social media platforms, Truth Social owned by former President Donald Trump, and Rumble. After being posted for only a few hours the song not only climbed the Apple iTunes song chart, but it hit No. 1 in the world. 

“Here I am with no record label, no publisher, no marketing deal,” he stated. “I just got a song that speaks to a lot of people, and Truth and Rumble pushed it out there. And man, I’m really proud of what we did today.”

John Rich’s next performance as Big & Rich will take place on August 19 in Lynden, WA. 

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