Rascal Flatts were already well into a career as one of contemporary country music's biggest hitmakers when the trio joined the Grand Ole Opry on Oct. 8, 2011.

The trio were blindsided by a surprise invitation from Vince Gill to join the country musc institution during an Opry show on sept. 27.

"All I could think about was being a little kid, sitting in the nosebleed section of the Grand Ole Opry," Jay DeMarcus told the Boot backstage afterward. "The first thought that came into my head was, ‘I cannot believe I used to come here on family vacations and watch the Opry with my mom at the very top.’ Then to be on the stage, and then asked to be a member of the Opry — it had all come full circle. It all hit me, a flood of emotions all at once, and it was tough to keep it together."

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They were inducted early the following month by Little Jimmy Dickens during the Opry's 86th Birthday Bash performing “Why Wait,” “I Won’t Let Go” and “Life Is a Highway" at their induction celebration, which took place on the same night that Ronnie Dunn made his solo debut on the Opty after Brooks & Dunn split up.

The Opry had one more very special surprise for Rascal Flatts at their Opry induction, when President George W. Bush shared a message from himself and First Lady Laura Bush with the superstar trio.

“We are big fans of Gary, Jay and Joe Don,” Bush said in the video (quote via the Boot). “We love their music, and we also love their compassion and generosity. Throughout their success, Rascal Flatts have given back to their community and to our country by supporting the Make-a-Wish Foundation, Vanderbilt Children’s Hospital and the American Red Cross. I am especially proud of their efforts to honor the men and women of our armed forces and the heroes who are wounded on the front lines.”

Despite their busy touring schedule, Rascal Flatts still perform often at the Grand Ole Opry.

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