On Friday, family, friends, along with hundreds of fans, gathered at World Outreach Church in Murfreesboro, to pay their respects to icon Charlie Daniels.
The funeral service included a color guard followed with a march to Daniels’ casket with the U.S. and Tennessee flags, while former U.S. Marine Mark “Oz” Geist recited the pledge of allegiance.
Several guest performers took the stage to pay tribute to the late Country Music Hall of Fame and Grand Ole Opry member. Trace Adkins performed the patriotic “Arlington,” while Vince Gill crooned through “Go Rest High on That Mountain,” and “America the Beautiful.” Travis Tritt led the congregation in “Amazing Grace.” Accompanied on piano by Michael W. Smith, Gretchen Wilson honored Daniels with gospel classic “I’ll Fly Away.”
Speakers included former U.S. Navy SEAL David Rutherford, tenured CDB roadie Roger Campbell, and Daniels’ longtime manager David Corlew. World Outreach Church pastor Allen Jackson eulogized the legendary singer.
On Saturday night, the Opry paid tribute to Daniels. During the show, The Gatlin Brothers performed “Heaven’s Jubilee” and “Help Me” in honor of Daniels. Grammy-nominated singer/songwriter Margo Price and Stoney Creek Records/BBR Music Group’s platinum-selling singer/songwriter Jimmie Allen joined the Gatlins’.
“There’s a Charlie Daniels quote reading ‘The best of America is sitting in those Opry seats tonight’ on a wall backstage here at the Grand Ole Opry House,” said Dan Rogers, Vice President, and Executive Producer, Grand Ole Opry in a release.
“The best of America was also on the Opry stage when Charlie Daniels stepped in that circle. I know Charlie’s long, very full life and award-winning career were about so much more than ‘The Devil Went Down To Georgia,’ but I have to say I have never seen a more surefire live performance hit than when that beloved man would stand on the Opry stage, hold his fiddle bow high, and launch into that iconic song. Whether you were in the front row or the nosebleeds and whether you were from Mt. Juliet, New Zealand, or somewhere in between, you were on your feet by the song’s end. Guaranteed. Every single time. We’re going to miss that so much. To know that those thrilling moments don’t even begin to scratch the surface of the way Charlie changed lives makes his leaving us that much more difficult to comprehend. The Opry was so proud to call Charlie family, and we think of all those he loved during this terribly sad time.”
Daniels passed away on Monday, July 6, at Summit Medical Center in Hermitage, Tennessee. Doctors determined the cause of death was a hemorrhagic stroke. He was 83. Daniels is survived by his wife, Hazel Daniels; son Charles William Daniels and Alaya Nowling and Evan Tubb, whom Daniels considered his grandchildren, as well as “grandbuddies” Taylor Corlew Jenkins and Bailey Wheeler.