“The Ones That Didn’t Make It Back Home” by Justin Moore
This Justin Moore song serves as a tribute specifically to American soldiers who were killed while on active duty. Thus the phrase the “ones that didn’t make it back home” is a reference to such individuals who left home yet were unable to return.
The track features a pretty-straightforward narrative where in the first verse a lady “was planning a welcome home barbecue” for a soldier who was scheduled to arrive, only to receive a “knock at the door around 2:00” from “two uniforms”. This is a well-known procedure used by the US military to inform the next of kin of a solider that he or she has been killed in the line of duty. Thus when the aforementioned lady sees the officers at her door, “her heart stopped”, as in just by seeing them she was privy to the harrowing news she was about to receive. And the verse concludes with the symbolism of a “yellow ribbon around an oak tree”, which is likely symbolic of the deceased soldier’s family anticipating his eventual arrival. Indeed in the second verse we find that the “whole town” acknowledges this fallen soldier through different, primarily-solemn activities.
Accordingly the chorus is centered on Justin Moore giving a shoutout to the “ones that didn’t make it back home”. As the above story illustrates, they are “gone but not forgotten”. The singer also states that they are in a “better place up there”, which is a metaphor for them enjoying the afterlife. But at the same time, they “sure left a hole down here”, which is symbolic of the emotional impact their departure has had on their loved ones. But as for those who are left to deal with the aftermath of their deaths, they “just go on living and go on missing” their fallen loved ones.
Thus once again this is a heartfelt tribute song in honor of slain American soldiers which Moore is presenting. He may not know all of such persons individually but still sympathizes with what their family and friends go through in the event of their demise.
Release Date of “The Ones That Didn’t Make It Back Home”
Variety Music Group released this track on the 12th of October 2018. It came out the lead single off of Justin Moore’s 2019 full-length album. The album’s title is Late Nights and Longnecks and it happens to be Moore’s fifth studio album.
Writing and Production
Justin Moore wrote and produced this song along with Jeremy Stover. The pair also co-wrote it alongside Paul DiGiovanni and Chase McGill.