(L-R) Luke Bryan, Miranda Lambert, Jason Aldean, Maren Morris, and Thomas Rhett speak onstage during the 53rd Academy of Country Music Awards at MGM Grand Garden Arena on April 15, 2018, in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

The biggest stars of country music and fans alike gathered at the MGM Grand Garden Arena last Sunday night for a noble cause. The prestigious event is being held to recognize the efforts and talents of both the legendary and budding artists. But this year’s program is more significant as its staging is meant to pay homage to the victims of last year’s shooting in Las Vegas.

It’s been over six months since the Route 91 Harvest Festival. Of course, such tragedy would always be part of country music’s history. And though the traumatic effect of it is still fresh, it’s about time for everyone to start anew. Rise from the ashes and continue moving forward. That is, most probably, the primary message of the 53rd ACM Awards. Hence, the program opens with a stirring tribute for all those who were affected by the tragedy.

A Warm and Solemn Introduction

Prior to the fabulous performances and presentation of awards, the show commenced with sharing heart-warming words from some of the stars.

Entertainer of the Year Jason Aldean ensured the audience that tonight’s performances will be more than just singing.

“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.”

He added that each song they’ll be hearing would make them live in the moment.

On the other hand, Luke Bryan emphasizes the healing power of music for everyone who has a terrible experience.

“For those of us who have experienced tragedy and unexpected loss, music helps us remember what really matters in life.”

Jason Aldean was back to give an unsurpassed summary. Wearing a Vegas Strong pin, Aldean stated,

“With respect and love for the victims, our friends, family, and fans, we celebrate the music tonight. America, this is your ACM Awards.”

Other stars who imparted touching words include the Female Vocalist and Song of the Year awardee Miranda Lambert, Marren Morris, and Thomas Rhett.

Watch the moving opening below!

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