Monday (Oct. 1) marks the one-year anniversary of the tragedy that struck Las Vegas and the country community in 2017, when 58 people were killed in a mass shooting at the Route 91 Harvest music festival. Jason Aldean was on stage when the shooting happened, and the singer was one of the first to send love to those who lost their lives and those who survived the tragic night.
“Thinkin about our Route 91 family today. #vegasstrong,” Aldean posted on Twitter and Instagram Monday morning, along with a picture of the Route 91 Harvest logo.
The 41-year-old country star was in the middle of performing his song “When She Says Baby” when the shooter, later identified as Stephen Paddock (who was killed the night of the shooting), opened fire into the crowd from the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay hotel. Aldean and his crew were unharmed, but the singer posted on Instagram hours after the attack, writing, “Tonight has been beyond horrific … It hurts my heart that this would happen to anyone who was just coming out to enjoy what should have been a fun night.”
The shooting left 58 dead and injured 851 others, which sparked heartbroken responses from many of Aldean’s fellow country stars. Aldean took part in the Country Rising benefit show on Nov. 12, 2017, which also featured performances from Lady Antebellum, Sam Hunt, Martina McBride, Keith Urban, Dierks Bentley, Little Big Town, Jason Aldean, Chris Stapleton, Reba McEntire and George Strait and raised more than $4 million for the victims of the Route 91 shooting as well as Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria.
Aldean also performed at this year’s iHeartRadio Music Festival, which didn’t mark his first return to Las Vegas since Route 91, but it was his first proper concert following the ordeal (he performed at the 2018 ACM Awards in April). The singer began his set with an emotional tribute to the Route 91 victims and first responders alongside Nashville radio host Bobby Bones, bringing out dozens of police officers, firefighters and EMTs, which sparked a roaring “USA” chant from the crowd.
Take a look at Aldean’s Route 91 anniversary post below.