Public Papers

Statement on the Death of Roy Acuff


Barbara and I mourn the death of our long-time friend and the King of Country Music. Roy Acuff showed that America loves country music because country music loves America. He helped the Grand Ole Opry become America's heirloom of the heart.

Roy made his Opry debut in 1938 and played it nearly every weekend. Often, Barbara and I visited him and heard Roy sing ``Great Speckled Bird'' or ``Wabash Cannonball.'' We marveled at his talent. Even more, we cherished his kindness, modesty, love of life, and loyalty to friends.

Roy said, ``I want to go down as a gentleman in country music. That's all I care to be.'' Our great and good friend achieved that goal and more. Roy Acuff leaves what for 89 years he lived, a touch of the American dream.