This is one of the most well-known patriotic country songs that was inspired by the September 11 attacks, along with Alan Jackson's "Where Were You (When The World Stopped Turning)" and Toby Keith's "Courtesy Of The Red, White And Blue (The Angry American)." Darryl Worley and Wynn Varble wrote the song as "sort of a rallying call" in the wake of the events of 9/11 and the early days of the war in Afghanistan. They felt their own patriotic spirits rising and thought, "There's probably a bunch of people that feel this way. Let's find out."
A controversy surrounding the song arose, however, which held that the message contained in it was an accusation that those who disagreed with the US involvement in Afghanistan had "forgotten" about 9/11. Many felt the war would do nothing to help the anti-terrorist cause, and resented the implication.
But Worley maintains that his message was meant as a supportive one for the victims of 9/11, their families, and the veterans and troops whom he so vigorously and actively supports.
He says he's not a "war hawk," and explains, "Even though I support us going and taking care of business, that doesn't mean that there's not some fallout, and there's not gonna be some negative side effects of that kind of thing. I mean, obviously, one of the first things that comes to people's mind when they hear the word 'war' is death. And there's gonna be some of it. There's gonna be lives lost on both sides. And that's the cold reality, and that's the harsh reality, and that's the part that makes it tough for presidents and generals and people to send these young kids into the fight. But that's why we have a military. You have to protect your boundaries, and you have to fight back when people come and kill innocent citizens on a beautiful day who are just out enjoying doing what American people do, and all of the sudden we're getting bombed by terrorists on our own home front. You gotta go retaliate."
An outspoken advocate for the rights of war veterans, Worley has some ideas on re-acclimating them upon their return home. "What would be wrong with our brilliant system taking some of those guys and just letting them go to Camp David and hang out for a few weeks when they come back home, and just chill out and give them some time to decompress? This is gonna sound really silly, but after being over there for a couple of weeks just entertaining, I come home, and I don't want nobody up in my face asking me a million questions. It's a really intense experience."
Worley: "There's an element of reality in everything I do. And I can't help that. I've tried to write from a different place, and it just don't happen. I mean, I've even had my co-writers say, 'Golly, we can't even get you to go there.' And I try. I really try. But if it's not real... So that being said, I'm looking at the fallout from these conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq. And the thing that spurred it was the guy up in New Jersey, I think. It may have been a black guy, he was home from Iraq or Afghanistan, he was a Marine Corps guy, and somebody was outside of his window doing a bunch of stuff and making noise and stuff, and he got frustrated and started screaming at 'em and they were screaming back, or were ignoring him or something. And he took his pistol and fired a couple of rounds up in the air. And they ran off, but he got into all kinds of trouble. I mean, they just turned him into a – made him look like a criminal. Which he wasn't. I mean, he just kind of flew off a little bit. And there's no telling what the guy had been through." (Read more in our interview with Darryl Worley.)
Worley earned an Academy of Country Music Top New Male Vocalist Award nomination in 2003 for this song.
This is one the few hit songs to mention the state of Pennsylvania in the lyric ("some went down like heroes in that Pennsylvania field"). The most prominent song to mention the state is Billy Joel's "Allentown."