Whether you are a country music fan, artist, musician, songwriter, manager, agent, publicist or even a country music journalist, you were likely deeply affected by the Oct. 1 festival shooting in Las Vegas. Many were there, some were not, but we’re all united by our deep love of country music.

RELATEDEric Church gets emotional over a fan shot down in the Vegas massacre

In the days that have followed, we have watched in disbelief as country stars recounted the horrific nightmare of being there, but we’ve also listened as they’ve offered messages of hope, peace and love. And in doing so, they are helping a mourning nation take the first small steps toward healing.

I didn’t want to be here tonight. I didn’t want to play guitar. 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.” And then she said “We have tickets for the Grand Ole Opry tomorrow night.” And there’s a, over here, section 3, row F, if you’re there in row F, there’s some empty seats and that’s their seats. And, I’m gonna tell you something, the reason I’m here, the reason I’m here tonight, is because of Heather Melton and her husband Sonny, who died, and every person that was there. I’ll tell you something, I saw that crowd. I saw them with their hands in the air. I saw them with boots in the air. And what I saw, that moment in time that was frozen there’s no amount of bullets that can take away. None. And that night, something broke in me, on Sunday night when that happened. And the only way I’ve ever fixed anything that’s been broken in me is with music. So I wrote a song…

A post shared by Eric Church (@ericchurchmusic) on

RELATED: A country star turned his own heartbreak into a song of hope at the Mother Church

Rare Country’s 5 has information on several organizations that will be helping those with both short- and long-term needs in the coming days. Even if you are unable to help, we encourage you to keep the victims of this heinous crime in your thoughts and prayers.

Based in Nashville, Tammy is a 20-year veteran of the country music community. She has worked in marketing, PR and artist development. Follow her @TammyGooGoo and join the conversation @RareCountry
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