Editor’s Note: On the evening of October 16, 2016, Charlie, legendary producer Fred Foster, and Randy Travis were formally inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum with the Hall’s Medallion Ceremony. Below are the heartfelt words he spoke when he received his medallion.
The grandiose words it would require to adequately describe the sea of gratitude and the mountain of honor I'm feeling tonight, simply do not exist in my vocabulary, and I'm not sure if the words to describe the emotions I'm feeling in my heart right now exist at all.
When I look around me at the images of those who I have admired, respected and emulated, whose very shoulders I stand on, and to think that I will be represented in that same manner and on those same walls, is a very humbling thought indeed.
A plaque on these walls is not just an award or an accolade, it is a page in a history book, an unending history book, a story that will go on and on as long as talented young men and women with a desire in their hearts and a fire in their belly continue to write and perform the songs, travel the miles and pay the dues.
Many of the faces on these walls laid the foundation and established the infrastructure for those of us who would follow in their footsteps, taking their music down two lane black tops into the mountains and swamps to the common folks whose lives their songs reflect.
Through depressions and wars they sung their tunes about lonesome freight train whistles and love gone wrong. They played the hoedowns and drinking songs and helped America remember that no matter how dark the days of war became there was a star-spangled banner waving somewhere.
The Grand Ole Opry was the force that brought it all together. As the first true stars like Roy Acuff and Ernest Tubb began to emerge and their songs boomed across the Southeast and Midwest on the airwaves of the clear channel voice of 650 AM WSM, young men glued themselves to the radio every Saturday night and dared to dream about one day being a part of this wonderful thing that was happening in Nashville, Tennessee.
I know, because I was one of them, and from the time I learned my first three chords, my life has been devoted to the creation and performing of my music.
It's been a rewarding life, an exciting life, and I would do it all over again in the twinkling of an eye.
For me, to acknowledge this most distinguished recognition and not acknowledge the fact that I would not be standing here were it not for the love and loyalty of my wife and son, the fact that God has granted me yet another desire of my heart and that I have been surrounded by some of the most incredible people who have stuck it out with me and had my back through some heavy storms.
I've often been asked what is my most cherished accomplishment, and my answer never varies.
It's keeping 25 people gainfully and steadily employed for over 40 years.
It's been a great ride gang, and we're still in the saddle. And it ain't over by a long shot. Bring it on.
The acknowledgments I make tonight would not be complete without recognizing my dear friend and mentor Bob Johnston, who brought me to Nashville in 1967.
Bob passed away a few months ago, but I know if he were here he would take great joy in this event.
So, with the greatest respect for the past and the greatest aspirations for the future, as I humbly accept this indescribable honor desired by so many and attained by so few, I realize just how blessed I am.
Long live Country Music.
God Bless Music City.
What do you think?
Pray for our troops, our police and for our country.
God Bless America
Charlie Daniels is a legendary American singer, song writer, guitarist, and fiddler famous for his contributions to country and southern rock music. Daniels has been active as a singer since the early 1950s. He was inducted into the Grand Ole Opry on January 24, 2008.