On Wednesday, country singer Eric Church put on an emotional tribute for the victims of the Las Vegas massacre while performing at the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville.
Church was the Friday headliner at the Route 91 Harvest Festival, which was targeted by a gunman Sunday night, resulting in 58 killed and nearly 500 others injured.
Shaken up from the attack on his fans, the musical talent told his audience that he initially didn't want to show up on Wednesday, but changed his mind when he saw Las Vegas massacre survivor Heather Melton appear on CNN wearing an Eric Church t-shirt. Her husband, Sonny, a huge Church fan, sacrificed his own life for Heather.
Church mentioned the couple by name, and noted empty seats he saved for them in his crowd. After a lengthy emotional speech, the musical star played his fans a song he wrote for all the Vegas victims.
“This past Friday, I played the harvest music festival in Las Vegas, and I was the headliner, and uhm, I looked out there in that crowd, in that place, it was our last show of the year,” he told the audience.
“I watched them hold American flags during ‘How about You?’ I watched them put an American scarf around my neck during ‘Springsteen,’ they held records up when I played ‘record year.’ They held boots up when I played ‘these boots,'" continued an emotional Church.
“And I was so, uhm, moved by it, mainly because I looked at them and went, ‘this is my crowd, I’ve seen this crowd all year.’ They’re mine,” he said.
“And forty-eight hours later, the place where I stood, was carnage,” the singer stated, the pain audible in his voice. “Those were my people, those were my fans.”
“I didn’t want to be here tonight,” he explained. “And I didn’t want to play guitar, and I didn’t want to walk on this stage, but last night, let me try to get this out, last night somebody sent me a video of a lady named Heather Melton. And she was talking to Anderson Cooper on CNN and she had on our ‘Church Choir’ tour shirt.”
“And he said, ‘What brought you to Vegas?’ and she goes, ‘we went there to see Eric Church, because he was Sonny’s,’ her husband who died, ‘it was his guy, and we went there to see his guy,'” he said.
“And then she said, ‘We have tickets for the Grand Ol’ Opry tomorrow night,'” continued Church. “And over here, section three, row F, there’s a, if you’re there, if you’re in row F, there are some empty seats, and that’s their seats.”
“And I’m gonna tell you something,” he added, “the reason I’m here. The reason I’m here tonight is because of Heather Melton, her husband Sonny, who died, and every person that was there, cuz let me tell you something, I saw that crowd. I saw them with their hands in the air, I saw’em, I saw’em with boots in the air, and what I saw, that moment in time that was frozen, there’s no amount of bullets that could take away.”
“None!” he yelled, receiving cheers from the crowd.
“And that night, something broke in me, on Sunday night when that happened,” he said. “And the only way I’ve ever fixed anything that’s been broken in me, is with music.”
The country star then played a song he wrote for all the victims. The emotional tune included the lyrics: "Every morning when the sun hits the mountain, and a glorious still calms the breeze, I'll ask the God of my salvation, 'Why you and why not me?'"
Partial transcript via The Blaze