September 27th, 2013
“Have You Forgotten?” is a song by country music artist Darryl Worley. It was released in March of 2003, roughly 3 months after he performed for United States soldiers in Afghanistan. I believe this timing is very important to understanding the meaning and feeling behind this song. September of 2003 was the second anniversary of the attacks on the Pentagon and the Twin Towers. Thousands of soldiers were overseas fighting for our freedom and Worley wanted to make sure that we remember those men and women are still fighting, two years later, and that we were attacked and thousands died. This was also a time when many US citizens believed that the war had gone on for too long and advancing into other Middle Eastern nations was not needed.
Worley addresses the topic of war in the Middle East head on. He asks his listeners to stop going back and forth about the necessity of war just for a moment and think about what actually happened on 9/11/01. He challenges the listeners to remember all of the “people blown away” and how our “homeland [was] under fire” and then reconsider their position on war in the Middle East.
Not only are the lyrics of this song very powerful and emotional though, the music itself pulls the listener in. I don’t know a whole lot about the mechanics of music, but this is a ballad that was meant to get stuck in your head. To give you chills not only because it is a great song, but because the images of that day are so chilling and horrifying.
Remembrance is a key theme in this song. With the timing of this song’s release, it was important to remind the public that there is a reason to fight and the nation’s freedom is at stake. Not only does the listener think back to the actual events of 9/11, but also to all of the other wars the US has fought in. Each war the US has been a part of, we have won. We are the most powerful nation in the world, but we didn’t get that status by sitting around and watching. We stepped up in every war and made sure the rest of the world knew we are a force they shouldn’t mess with. Worley also sings about how “they took all the footage off [his] TV” which makes the listener realize that nobody really talks about 9/11 anymore. This circles back to remembrance, and how in order to remember what we are fighting for and the reasons behind the war, we need to keep the topic alive. We need to remember why we are angry at the people who attacked us and remain angry until justice is served. After 9/11 “we vowed to get the one’s behind Bin Laden” but after less than two years, most of the nation had forgotten.
Worley does an amazing job of reminding the nation why we are still fighting overseas because he packs so much emotion into this song. By the end of the song, he is pleading with his listeners to remember the horrific events of 9/11. “Have you forgotten?” changes from a simple question, to a sentence that will forever be linked to remembering the attacks on the Pentagon and the World Trade Center. I know the first time I ever heard this song, I literally cried. Every image he speaks of, all of the things he asks us to remember started playing in my head. I saw the towers burning and falling to the ground. I thought of all of the “loved ones that we lost” and their families and friends that have to keep going. I remembered that we were attacked on US soil. Our absolute worst nightmare actually happened and fighting back isn’t something we should question, it shouldn’t be an option, it needs to be a must.
So, have you forgotten?