I am apart of the country music community. I attend at least two concerts annually. I don’t own a pair of cowboy boots. I do blast KFROG and my country music Pandora station as I am driving down the highway on a regular basis. I’ve spent countless nights with friends dancing my butt off to the fine tunes of my favorite country artists.

Eric Church, March 2017

I say that this is the first time in my history that I am glad to be broke because months ago my friend and I discussed going to Route 91 Harvest Festival in Las Vegas. We missed Stagecoach 2017 so naturally this was the next best option. We had already bought tickets to the Thomas Rhett concert that took place on 9/24– so it seemed Route91 wasn’t in the the cards for us this year. A weekend that could easily add up over $1000 after tickets, food, drinks, gas and a hotel. I spent the Friday night before the tragedy watching videos that friends had posted on social media of Eric Church performing at the festival. I mentioned to my husband “I should be there, this isn’t fair!”. Today, I thank my lucky stars that I was not in attendance.

This massacre hits so close to home. It gives me chills and it has brought me to tears. These are my people. Not only did I know some people attending but I can guarantee that hundreds of them maybe in even a thousand have been in other arenas across California at the same time as me singing along, dancing and sharing a beer with our favorite artists. That makes this attack feel personal, even without there being a clear motive yet. 

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Thomas Rhett, September 2017

In 2015, there was the San Bernardino Attacks, I was working 8 miles away when that massacre took place. That attack was completely tragic and scary, but it didn’t have the same affects on my emotions. I was sad for those people but I couldn’t directly picture myself in that situation.

Not only is the country music scene my community, but Las Vegas is a place I have frequented from childhood to adulthood. Las Vegas, NV is a 3 1/2 hour drive from my home. As a child my parents would take us there– my father would stay up all night gambling as we enjoyed the pools, buffets and arcades. On several occasions I drove out to Las Vegas to meet my uncle from the east coast, and for work related training. I celebrated my 21st birthday there. We have been to the Supercross Championship round that takes place in Las Vegas. I’ve been there for friends bachelorette parties and birthdays. I can put myself in these peoples shoes and that makes me empathize with them on a deeper level. 

My heart hurts for the survivors and casualties. I know what unanticipated loss feels like, but I don’t know what tragedy feels like. I hope some day you find peace in this tragic situation. I hope that some day I will raise a beer with you at a country concert in salute to your losses and newfound strength. We can share love instead of hate. We can continue to love our lives, enjoy the good things it has to offer and not let the evil deter us from continuing on the paths of our best lives.

These are my people. This is where I come from. We’re givin’ this life everything we’ve got and then some. It ain’t always pretty. But it’s real. That’s the way we were made. Wouldn’t have it any other way. These are my people. – Rodney Atkins


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