Darryl Worley Calls For Unity In Updated Sequel To Post-9/11 Anthem “Have You Forgotten?”

Darryl Worley country music
Darryl Worley

One of the biggest songs released in response to the 9/11 terrorist attacks has gotten an update for 2023.

Back in 2003, at a time when country music was full of patriotic anthems in the wake of the September 11th attacks, Darryl Worley released one of his own with “Have You Forgotten?”

Dropping just before the US invasion of Iraq, at a time when Americans were growing tired of the ongoing war in Afghanistan (yeah, nearly 20 years before it actually ended) and concerns were swirling about weapons of mass destruction and whether to send American troops to Iraq to topple Saddam Hussein, the song was an anthem of sorts for support of our troops and our country:

“I hear people saying we don’t need this war
But I say there’s some things worth fighting for
What about our freedom and this piece of ground
We didn’t get to keep ’em by backing down
They say we don’t realize the mess we’re gettin’ in
Before you start your preachin’ let me ask you this my friend

Have you forgotten how it felt that day
To see your homeland under fire and her people blown away
Have you forgotten when those towers fell
We had neighbors still inside going through a living hell
And you say we shouldn’t worry ’bout Bin Laden
Have you forgotten?”

Worley denied that the song was an endorsement of the war in Iraq, but was merely posing the question: Have we already forgotten the images and feelings of that terrible day?

The song was a hit, reaching #1 on the Billboard country charts, and #22 on the Hot 100 chart.

But 20 years later, quite a bit’s changed.

The war in Afghanistan dragged on for nearly 20 years, and I think it’s safe to say that it’s pretty universally accepted that the war in Iraq was a mistake.

And rather than coming together in the wake of the worst attack on our country’s history, we’re living in a society that’s more divided and politically polarized than ever.

So Darryl Worley thought the song needed an update for 2023.

The sequel, “Have We Forgotten?” takes a decidedly different tone than the defiant original, with Worley telling People:

“The message is that we as a people here in America need to think about what we can do to help with the problem of division.” 

For the new version, Worley reunited with Wynn Varble, his co-writer on the original song. And more than updating a few words, the song’s an entirely new take on the 2003 hit:

“I hear people saying our best days are gone
A people once united can’t even get along
A nation so divided, a country torn in two
It’s such a shame after all that we’ve been through
We’ve always been a beacon, the world’s one shining light
Are we going to let it all go wrong for the sake of being right?

Have we forgotten who we really are?
All the storms we’ve had to weather and how we ever got this far
Have we forgotten how it used to be?
When we could still sit down together and agree to disagree
And the common good was what we had in common
Have we forgotten?”

According to Worley, it wasn’t even his idea to update the song, but he thinks it’s an important message at a time when our country is as divided as we’ve been at any point since the Civil War:

“If everyone that hears this song makes an effort to do what they can to help with this, it will make a huge difference. We need to do something at this point to bring about unity. United we stand.”

A beer bottle on a dock



A beer bottle on a dock