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Dolly Parton Declines Honors

Singer says she doesn’t want to be put on a pedestal


 | February 22, 2021

Feb 22 2021

Dolly Parton has asked Tennessee state lawmakers to scrap plans to put a statue of her on the Capitol grounds in Nashville, at least for now.  

“I want to thank the Tennessee legislature for their consideration of a bill to erect a statue of me on the Capitol grounds,” the singer said in a statement. “I am honored and humbled by their intention but I have asked the leaders of the state legislature to remove the bill from any and all consideration. Given all that’s going on in the world, I don’t think putting me on a pedestal is appropriate at this time.”

There are several historic figures memorialized in statue form on the state Capitol grounds in Nashville, including presidents Andrew Jackson and Andrew Johnson. President James K. Polk is also buried on the Capitol grounds. 

Although Parton objected to a statue of her being erected right now, the country music superstar said that she would be grateful if lawmakers bestowed the honor in the future. “I hope, though, that somewhere down the road several years from now or perhaps after I’m gone if you still feel I deserve it, then I’m certain I will stand proud in our great State Capitol as a grateful Tennessean,” Parton said. 

“In the meantime, I’ll continue to try to do good work to make this great state proud.” 

There is already a statue of Dolly Parton in her hometown of Sevierville, TN. Sevierville is near to Pigeon Forge, where her Dollywood amusement park is located.  

Parton declined Presidential Medal of Freedom

Parton recently revealed in an interview that President Trump wanted to give her the Presidential Medal of Freedom but Parton turned the award down – twice. The first time, she declined because her husband was ill. The second time, Parton, 75, declined due to not wanting to travel during the coronavirus pandemic. As to rumors that the award may be bestowed by President Joe Biden, Parton said she did not know if she would accept it now because she is afraid that it would look like she is playing politics.

The Presidential Medal of Freedom is the nation’s highest civilian honor. 

“I couldn’t accept it [the first time] because my husband was ill and then they asked me again about it and I wouldn’t travel because of the COVID,” Parton said. “Now I feel like if I take it, I’ll be doing politics, so I’m not sure.” 

Last fall, former President Barack Obama told Stephen Colbert that not giving Dolly Parton the award during his presidency was “a screw-up” and that he would call Biden to tell him to give her the award. 

Parton deserves the award and she should accept it if offered; in addition to her contributions to American music and culture, her nonprofit Imagination Library has donated more than 100 million books to kids around the world, in order to foster a love of reading. 

In addition to her many accomplishments in music, her acting credits include “9 to 5,” “The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas,” and “Steel Magnolias.”

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