Countless celebrities -- from the controversial (Roseanne Barr) to the sublime (Whitney Houston) -- have sung our national anthem at special events. Now country music legends the Oak Ridge Boys have been proclaimed by the prestigious National Music Council as "the official leading singers" of "The Star Spangled Banner." On Tuesday night (July 17), WSM's Eddie Stubbs made the announcement while introducing the group on stage at the Grand Ole Opry.

"The Oak Ridge Boys have been global ambassadors of American music and culture for decades," NMC Director Dr. David Sanders said in a statement. "Cultural diplomacy is more important now than ever before, and this designation is a way for us to highlight the role that musicians, creators, and artists play in bettering our nation's relationship with the world. The singing of the 'Star Spangled Banner' is emblematic not only of the pride we all take in our own country, but also of the appreciation and respect we have for other cultures and musical genres that have played such an important role in shaping America's own, distinctive musical voice."

"Just reading the proclamation gives me chills," says the Oaks Duane Allen. "The National Music Council represents all of the major music organizations in America. The Oak Ridge Boys enjoy the privilege of leading in the singing of our national anthem. We love to hear an entire football stadium singing it with gusto with us. Being designated is a huge honor, and we are humbled to be selected by the NMC."

The proclamation recognizes the Oak Ridge Boys' contribution to the preservation of patriotic American music, as well as their longstanding advancement of musical culture and their commitment to celebrating the global diversity of music traditions. It also celebrates the group's continued service as ambassadors of American culture.

The National Music Council was founded in 1940 and includes organizations designed to help develop music throughout the United States. Among its member organizations are the ACM and the CMA.

Watch the Oaks Sing the National Anthem