Since the song's inaugural release in 1984, Lee Greenwood's "God Bless the USA" has been the soundtrack for Independence Day. In fact, the song's popularity soared after the September 11 attacks and during the 2003 invasion of Iraq, and the song was re-released as a single, re-entering the country music charts at No. 16 and peaking at No. 16 on the Billboard Hot 100 pop chart in 2001. However, this year over Independence Day, the song has dipped significantly in airplay.
A Gallup poll released over the holidays indicated that fewer than half of Americans are extremely proud of their citizenship. Some 47 percent of respondents self-identified as extremely proud, the lowest figure in the 17 years that Gallup has tracked the question. Also setting a new low was the 72 percent combination of extremely proud and very proud participants. "God Bless the U.S.A." slipped 33 percent in airplay this year.
Greenwood wrote God Bless the U.S.A. in response to his feelings about the shooting down of Korean Air Lines Flight 007. He said that he "wanted to write it my whole life. When I got to that point, we were doing 300 days a year on the road, and we were on our fourth or fifth album on MCA. I called my producer, and I said I have a need to do this. I've always wanted to write a song about America, and I said we just need to be more united." As for writing the song itself, Greenwood wrote that it more or less "wrote itself", and that the lyrics flowed naturally from the music as a reflection of his pride to be American.