- The Washington Times - Saturday, March 8, 2003

Not every high-profile musician is signing an anti-war petition.

"Have you forgotten how it felt that day, to see our homeland under fire and the people blown away?" asks Tennessee country singer Darryl Worley in a song that hasn't been released for sale to the public yet.

But "Have You Forgotten?" a patriotic anthem recalling September 11 and dedicated to the American military, is already ranked 19th on the country airplay chart by Radio & Records magazine, an industry publication that tracks what radio stations are playing.

Billboard pronounced the tune its "hot shot debut" Monday, and country radio stations nationwide are inundated with requests for the tune; KSON in San Diego, in fact, plays it every hour.

"Where can I get it, and when will you play it again? That's what we're hearing about this song," said Rockville-based WMZQ music director and disc jockey Jon Anthony yesterday.

"It's telling people to support our troops, to remember what they're out there doing," Mr. Anthony said.

Mr. Worley, whom the Academy of County Music Awards nominated for best "New Male Vocalist" on Tuesday, sings over soaring guitars: "I hear people saying we don't need this war. But I say there's some things worth fighting for."

The tune ends with the question, "Don't tell me not to worry about bin Laden. Have you forgotten?"

Though the album won't be released until April 29, the single can be heard online (https://darrylworley.dreamworksnashville.com)

The song is meant to "let our soldiers know we support them and their efforts to protect our freedom," Mr. Worley said when he introduced it at Nashville's Grand Ole Opry in late January.

Only weeks before, Mr. Worley spent Christmas Eve with the USO entertaining U.S. troops in Afghanistan, accompanied by 22 members of the U.S. Army Band.

"Count me in," the 6-foot 6-inch Mr. Worley told his military hosts after he was told he would sleep in a tent and eat with troops on the front line.

He wrote "Have You Forgotten?" on his return home.

The song has gotten some quick pigeonholing in the news in the last week.

The Nashville Tennessean newspaper said the song was "racing up the country charts with a bellicose message of vengeance."

USA Today said it "plays a drumbeat for war," saying the recording "endorses war with Iraq" and "may seem to equate Saddam Hussein with Osama bin Laden" as well.

"We're not trying to be politically correct. We're trying to put out a message that we believe everybody needs to hear, whether they agree with it or not," Mr. Worley told the daily.

Patriotism is not new to country music. Toby Keith's "Courtesy of the Red, White and Blue (The Angry American)" was nominated for the Country Music Award's single and video of the year last week.

Alan Jackson's "Where Were You (When the World Stopped Turning)" became an instant hit shortly after September 11, and Lee Greenberg's "God Bless the USA," released in 1985, is still in constant airplay around the country.

Some country artists disagree with it all, however.

Emmylou Harris, Roseanne Cash, Steve Earle and Lucinda Williams recently signed a anti-war petition championed by Musicians United to Win Without War, a group organized by singer David Byrne and rap music maven Russell Simmons.

The group is allied with Artists United to Win Without War, a Hollywood-based organization that includes actors Mike Farrell and Martin Sheen.

Some country stars, however, side with Mr. Worley, who is on tour of the United States. In late February, musician Charlie Daniels sent "An Open Letter to Hollywood" to print and broadcast media throughout the country.

Disgusted by anti-war performers, Mr. Daniels did not mince words.

"Why you bunch of pitiful, hypocritical, idiotic, spoiled mugwumps. Get your head out of the sand and smell the Trade Towers burning," he wrote.

"Do you think that a trip to Iraq by Sean Penn did anything but encourage a wanton murderer to think that the people of the U.S.A. didn't have the nerve or the guts to fight him?

"Barbra Streisand's fanatical and hateful rantings about George Bush makes about as much sense as Michael Jackson hanging a baby over a railing," Mr. Daniels said, adding that he would boycott the movies of anti-war stars.

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