Nashville, Tennessee

Melodies that fed our souls with a voice that demanded a place on stage – and didn’t take “no” or “wait” for an answer. 

Patsy Cline created a rupture, a shift, a before and an after.

She changed the music industry so profoundly, it’s hard to imagine what our world looked like before.

And with each barrier broken, she pulled a generation with her – women for whom the world’s doors now open a little more easily.

Her music gives voice to the feelings we can’t always define, tracing the contours of our joys and sorrows. It reminds us that we aren’t alone.

With the car radio playing and the windows rolled down, we belted out our pain, her songs carrying us through our heartbreaks and longings, weaving hope through our tears. 

That’s the magic of music.

I teach writing at a community college, so I know the power of good storytelling.

And music – especially country music – tells our stories – what it means to live a life. Of sweet dreams shattered and loves found. Of hard work and soaring ambition. And those memories that remind us of home.

And in those lyrics and plucks and strums, we hear the story of America – the grit and independence that define us, and the love for our home that unites us.

We’re here tonight to once again lose ourselves and be brought together – perhaps even have our hearts healed – by the power of Patsy’s stories. To celebrate that, here in America, our differences are precious and our similarities infinite.

And when those familiar harmonies swell – the distances between us shrink, the barriers fall away, and we find ourselves singing along with strangers and friends alike.

Serving as your First Lady is the honor of my lifetime. And it’s so special to be here with Patsy’s family – including her incredible daughter Julie – as we commemorate an American icon.

And while Patsy may have left us far too soon – as we sing as one, as her music beats in our hearts, as she inspires us to find a strength we didn’t know we had – we add new chapters to her story, carrying forward a legacy that has no end.

May God Bless you all. And may God protect our troops and their families.

Thank you.


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