Editor's note: LZ Granderson, who writes a weekly column for CNN.com, was named journalist of the year by the National Lesbian and Gay Journalists Association and is a 2011 Online Journalism Award finalist for commentary. He is a senior writer and columnist for ESPN the Magazine and ESPN.com and the 2009 winner of the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation award for online journalism. Follow him on Twitter at @locs_n_laughs
Grand Rapids, Michigan (CNN) - On November 8, 1965, 48 American soldiers lost their lives during "Operation Hump" after the 400 men of the 173 Airborne Brigade were ambushed by roughly 1,200 Viet Cong fighters.
I did not learn about this battle from a history book or teacher in school, but rather a popular country song - "The 8th of November" by the duo Big and Rich.
Whenever someone asks me why I love country music, I think of songs like that one, and Tim McGraw's "If You're Reading This," and the Dixie Chicks' "Traveling Soldier" - each with lyrics that capture the toll war has taken on this nation's soul.
Now, it would be disingenuous of me to pretend a black guy from Detroit listening to country is the norm. It's not, and I know it.
But I'm not trying to be something that I'm not.