Why Martina McBride Has 'Mixed Feelings' About Patriotic Connotations Tied to 'Independence Day'

"It's … 'annoying' isn't the word … interesting that some people just don't understand what the song is about at all," the country singer said of her anthem for women escaping domestic violence

Martina McBride‘s song “Independence Day” might seem like the perfect hit to soundtrack a Fourth of July party, but the country singer wants listeners to reflect on the song’s true meaning: as an anthem for women escaping domestic violence.

Twenty-five years after the song’s release, McBride, 52, along with writer Gretchen Peters, spoke to Rolling Stone about how it took on a patriotic meaning. Conservative talk host Sean Hannity made it the intro music for his radio show after 9/11, and Republican Sarah Palin used it as her walk-on music during her 2008 campaign for vice president.

“I have mixed feelings about it, to be honest,” McBride said of the song. “I have always had such a connection to the real meaning of the song, and it’s … ‘annoying’ isn’t the word … interesting that some people just don’t understand what the song is about at all.”

When the song originally came out in 1994, many radio stations wouldn’t play it because of its subject matter. So, McBride said she called radio programmers herself to talk with them about the song.

“We received initial pushback on the song, and I was so confused by that,” McBride told the outlet. “I was like, ‘Why wouldn’t they play this song?'”

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“I had one music director who said, ‘You know, if that [music] video is on, and my young daughter walks through the room, I have to have a discussion with her and explain it to her,'” she continued. “And I thought to myself, Well, maybe that’s not such a bad idea. What’s wrong with that?’

The song didn’t do well on the charts for that reason, but it did win CMA Awards for song and video of the year.

And McBride said some women have always heard what “Independence Day” is actually about.

“I started getting all these letters — handwritten letters, back in the day — from women saying, ‘This is my song,’” McBride said. “I got a few letters that said, ’I heard this song on the radio, I’ve been battered for 10 years, and I left. This was the thing that made me realize that it’s not my fault, that I need to make a change.’”

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