For Singer Darryl Worley, War Inspires Words


Writing songs of compassion and understanding for returning soldiers
by Charles Hadlock, Correspondent for NBC News

Left, Country music star Darryl Worley’s new album hopes to ease the pain for soldiers returning from war.

SAVANNAH, TN Darryl Worley is at peace on his 300-acre farm in rural Southwest Tennessee.

But the rhythm of war is never far from his mind or his music.

Worley strums a few chords from his latest song, I Just Came Back From a War, and reflects on how war has affected him.

It changed me. I mean, it totally rocked me, Worley said

War inspires words 
He first visited and sang for the troops during the war in Afghanistan in 2002.

When I came home, I just wanted to write a song I really didn’t know if it would be a song I just wanted to do something, Worley said. It was an emotional experience; it changed my life.

From that experience he wrote Have You Forgotten, which became a number one hit in 2003. It is a song clearly in defense of the war in Afghanistan. Many also saw it was a rallying cry for the invasion of Iraq…


“I think that song, Have You Forgotten, was the voice of a lot of people at that time, said Worley. And I think that’s why it was a huge hit song.”

Worley returned to Afghanistan and later visited troops in Iraq, performing Have You Forgotten and his other hits, including I Miss My Friend and Awful, Beautiful Life. He’s been to the Middle East three times this year and will be part of another USO show in December.

Encouraging empathy for returning soldiers
During these trips, Worley spends a lot of time shaking hands and signing autographs for soldiers.

Over and over he heard the same story from soldiers that when they returned home, their friends said they were different, more distant.

I got to thinking, God, how many of these stories have I heard?’ And there’s a lot of them, Worley said.

That’s what gave him the idea for his newest song.

I was in the shower one day and I thought what a strong line what a thought that is to just say You know, I just came back from a war.’

I Just Came Back From a War is a ballad about a soldier coming home from war a changed man.  It’s the first single released from Worley’s new CD, Here and Now.

Worley sings:  I just came back from a place where they hated me and everything I stand for/ A land where our brothers are dying for others who don’t even care anymore.

The lyrics, co-written by Wynn Varble, who also co-wrote Have You Forgotten, tell the struggles of a proud war veteran:  Chances are I never will be the same / I really don’t know anymore/ I just came back from a war.

Worley says the song is about compassion, understanding and patience for soldiers returning home.

To ask these people to go off to war, and experience the things you experience when you’re involved in a war, and come back home and be the same guy and gal they were when you left, that’s not going to happen, Worley said. I just hope that maybe that song will make a few people sit up and take notice and be a little more compassionate

Lyrics speak to soldiers
And the lyrics ring true for soldiers like Carlos Morales, who feels that home is the same, but he is different.

“It’s emotional changes, it’s all kinds of changes, Morales said, as he was waiting alone for a plane to take him back to Iraq. Once you see what’s going on, it has to affect you. If it’s not, you’re a nut.”

Worley’s song is climbing the country music charts.

“This is a very different song from Have You Forgotten,’ said Chris Huff, Music Director at KSCS-FM in Dallas.

“[The songs] are very similar in that they do mirror the mood, but the mood has changed; so the songs are very different, Huff said.Hoping for a warmer welcome’ for soldiers
Back on his Tennessee farm, Worley wants to make it clear that his new song is not in any way political.

To me this song doesn’t reflect any change of position as far as where I stand, he said. I don’t necessarily know that anybody cares what I think about all that; I hope not.

“There’s so much sacrifice. If we can see that for what it is and try to understand – some of the things these people are having to deal with, maybe when they return home, it’ll be a little warmer welcome.”

See more on the Darrly Worley website.

I Just Came Back From a War lyrics courtesy of 903 Music.
By: Darryl Worley/Wynn Varble

The first thing I did
when that plane finally landed
was kiss the ground
The next thing I did
was go do go find my friends
down at the old hangout
We drank some beer and talked a lot about old times
But when the booze finally hit Billy Joe Grimes
he said I don’t know what it is
but you seem different to me.’

I said I just came back
From a place where they hated me
And everything I stand for
A land where our brothers
Are dying for others
Who don’t even care anymore
If I’m not exactly the same good old boy
That you ran around with before
I just came back from a war

The very next morning
I took a walk through the neighborhood
I thought it’s been so long
since I’ve been in a place
where everything is good
People laughing and children were playing
And as I watched them
I found myself prayin’
Lord, keep em safe here at home
In the land of the free

Cause I just came back
From a place where they hated me
And everything I stand for
A land where our brothers
Are dying for others
Who don’t even care anymore
If I’m not the same little freckled-faced boy
That grew up in that house next door
I just came back from a war

I hope you cherish
this sweet way of life
And I hope you know
that it comes with a price
I said I just came back
From a place where they hated me
And everything I stand for
A land where our brothers
Are dying for others
Who don’t even care anymore
Chances are I never will be the same anymore
I really don’t know anymore
I just came back from a war

I just came back from a war
You don’t know me
You don’t know me
I just came back from a war

Charles Hadlock is an NBC News Correspondent based in Dallas, Texas.  


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