Through song, stars at the Country Music Association Awards paid tribute to victims of the deadliest shooting massacre in modern American history during Wednesday night's telecast.
The show opened with a single spotlight on singer Eric Church, who did an a cappella version of “Amazing Grace” in honor of those who lost their lives in the Oct. 1 shooting in Las Vegas.
Church was later flanked by Hootie & the Blowfish frontman Darius Rucker, who gave a stirring performance of the band's 1994 hit, “Hold My Hand.” They were then joined by an all-star lineup of country musicians like Keith Urban, Lady Antebellum, Tim McGraw and Faith Hill, Reba McEntire and Luke Bryan.
Carrie Underwood, who co-hosted with Brad Paisley for the tenth year in a row, performed this powerful tribute to the 58 people killed during the Route 91 Harvest Festival after a gunman opened fire on a crowd of country music fans from his hotel room window.
Underwood added that their thoughts and prayers were with the victims of the Texas church shooting over the weekend, the act of terror in New York City on Oct. 31 as well as those devastated by the recent hurricanes in Houston, Florida and Puerto Rico.
“This has been a year marked by tragedy, impacting countless lives and many in our country music family,” she added.
At the end of the show, Paisley wanted to drive home that those who perished in the tragedies did not die in vain.
“Our music lifts people up, and that’s what we’re here to do tonight,” Paisley said. “So this year’s show’s dedicated to all those we lost and to all those who are still healing. We love you, and we will never forget you.”