The singer/songwriter wrote the memorial song with Wynn Varble and it was released in March 2003. “Have You Forgotten?” was a number one hit on the U.S. Billboard Hot Country Songs chart for seven weeks, and also reached No. 22 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100.
The country star spoke to Fox News about what the song means to him still, his emotions behind the ballad, and why we should never forget the men and women who tragically lost their lives.
Fox News: Looking back, what was your mindset while writing the song?
Darryl Worley: I had just come from the war zone in Afghanistan and I got together with Wynn, my co-writer, and I kind of told him I wanted to do something as a tribute to honor our first responders and honor our military and honor the families who had lost loved ones.
Darryl Worley penned his song ‘Have You Forgotten?’ almost 20 years ago after reflecting on the terror attacks of September 11. (CJM Productions / Country Classics)
The song title comes from sometimes, it seems to cope, people want to move on as quickly as they can. The mindset of ‘Let’s just put this behind us. Let’s forget about this.’ I think people struggle with that so that’s a lot of the emotion and the discussion that was going on while we were writing that song.
Fox News: What did you hope to convey through the song?
Worley: We just wanted to remind people what had happened in such a short period of time. We wanted to have a song that would honor the people that died on that day and honor their families. We wanted to have a song that would make people aware of all the first responders, police officers, and firefighters who gave their lives trying to save other people.
Fox News: How did you feel about the reaction the song got when it hit the radio?
Worley: We didn’t have any clue that would ever happen. It happened very organically on its own. And of course, we were just looking at it and going, ‘Oh, my gosh,’ you know, ‘How did this even come about?’ I just performed it at the Grand Ole Opry one night and it just took off.
Fox News: September 11 was 20 years ago. What type of emotions does that bring up for you?
Worley: All the feelings that I felt at the time when all that was happening, they all come back. When I sing the song for the troops when I go back to entertain them in the war zone it evokes a lot of emotions. That is a very high-energy crowd. It’s very moving to see all those young men and women out there in their battle gear with their guns slung over their shoulders. It’s a very surreal thing to do.
Things are pretty difficult in our nation right now and people seem to be very distraught. But I’ve seen this country go through very, very difficult times and we always rise to the occasion and we’ll get through these times as well, and we’ll continue to march forward as the greatest country on Earth.