Oct. 19 (UPI) -- A gathering of country stars including Jason Aldean and Keith Urban opened up CMT's Artists of the Year special Wednesday to spread a message of hope and optimism following the tragic country music festival shooting in Las Vegas.
The event, which took place from Nashville's Schermerhorn Symphony Center, was kicked off by a performance by Andra Day and Little Big Town singing Day's "Rise Up" in tribute to anyone who has suffered tragedy this year including the shooting in Vegas and various hurricanes that rocked Texas, Florida and Puerto Rico.
"That performance right there is an example of why music can be so powerful, and we have never needed it more than we do right now," Bryan said while standing alongside the others. "We hope music can be a part of the healing."
"From Las Vegas to Puerto Rico, from Florida and Texas to Charlottesville and California, the entire nation is trying to process these devastating events. But on this night, one that we usually celebrate a year of music, we also want to celebrate a year of incredible human spirit. A spirit that we see in our fans every night," Stapleton added.
"In some small way tonight, we want to thank you for your resolve and perhaps lift your spirits for just a moment," Urban shared about the purpose of the event. "We hope to remind you that everything we go through, we can get through when we stick together."
Aldean ended the moment by commenting on the Las Vegas shooting that took place while he was performing onstage at the Route 91 Harvest Festival. The tragedy left 59 dead and hundreds more injured.
"We've been tested beyond our worst nightmares the past few months. Heartbroken doesn't even begin to explain how some of us feel," Aldean said. "But we have proven time and again in this country that we have the power to overcome anything that threatens our way of life or our freedom. We dedicate this night to you and to everyone who's experienced loss or tragedy in the past few months. Like Keith said, we will get through this together."