Loretta Lynn Makes a Surprise Appearance
"This is first time I've been out of the house," Loretta Lynn, who's still recovering from a stroke she suffered in May, told Alan Jackson from the podium. "You’re the only thing that would’ve brought me here." Judging by the eruption of applause and instant standing ovation, even those gathered in the CMA Theater who expected surprises at the Medallion Ceremony were pleasantly shocked when the "Coal Miner’s Daughter" legend took the stage. Speaking off the cuff and without the aid of a teleprompter (noting that, "Since the stroke I don’t see good"), Lynn, 85, who was inducted to the Hall in 1988, showed she's still sharp as a tack and full of moxie, keeping the crowd in stitches as she recalled how Jackson looked like a scared little boy the first time she met him, decades ago. "I looked at him and said, 'You’re gonna be one of the greatest singers in country music,'" Lynn recalled. "He hasn’t let me down." After reaching up to put the medal of honor around the neck of a low-bowing Jackson – easily one of, if not the tallest country Hall of Famers – Lynn returned to the mic to offer one more sentiment. "I wanted to say that, Alan, on that bad time, 9/11, [you] sang 'Where Were You (When the World Stopped Turning).' I cried all day long, and I still cry when you sing it." She then joined Jackson, George Strait and Connie Smith in singing the ceremony’s traditional closing number: "Will the Circle Be Unbroken."