On October 1, 2017, thousands of people gathered in Las Vegas to listen to country music artists perform at the Route 91 Harvest Festival.
Fifty-eight died and hundreds more suffered injuries after a gunman opened fire from the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay hotel.
Seven months later, on April 15, country music returned to Las Vegas to celebrate music at the Academy of Country Music Awards.
— ACM Awards (@ACMawards) April 16, 2018
Jason Aldean, who had been performing when the gunman opened fire, stepped onto the Las Vegas stage for the first time since the shooting to open up the ACM Awards. He was wearing a black suit to remember those who lost their lives in the shooting:
“Tonight we wanted to open the show with something that sums up what it's like for our country music family to be back in Las Vegas for the first time since October 1. We thought about starting with a song, but it's a lot bigger than a single song. It's everything you'll hear tonight, the songs that bring us to our feet, make you want to pull someone close, or just live in the moment. Nothing can take that away from us.”
Miranda Lambert then appeared and added:
“On this night our country community and the people here in Las Vegas and all of you at home are united through the healing power of music.”
Luke Bryant then said:
“For those of us who experienced tragedy, an unexpected loss, music helps us remember what really matters in life.”
Marren Morris continued:
“Music does so much more than provide an escape from the pain, it inspires us, it soothes us, and it makes us stronger.”
Thomas Rhett then added before the five of them got together in the middle of the stage:
“It gives us the chance to rejoice in what we have and tells us there is always a reason to carry on.”
And Aldean then finished by saying:
“With respect and love to the victims, our friends, family, and fans we celebrate the music tonight. America this is your ACM Awards.”