The people who attended (and were fortunate to leave) the Route 91 Harvest Festival in Las Vegas, Nevada in 2017 are bonded together for life. Though their bond is over something incredibly heartbreaking and difficult to swallow, this brotherhood/sisterhood of survivors has found comfort in those who understand what they went through on October 1.
For those who are unfamiliar with the tragedy, a gunman opened fire on tens of thousands of country music fans while Jason Aldean was closing out the three-day festival. Fifty-eight innocent lives were lost and hundreds of others suffered injuries.
This past weekend in Florence, Arizona, another huge country music festival, Country Thunder, took place. Toward the back of the gathering, it was evident that Route 91 survivors were congregating and supporting one another in a setting that was all too similar to the one that forever changed their lives. The group, donning orange ribbons (gun violence), were wearing shirts that honored the victims of Route 91, but also showed their own strength and resilience. A couple of the shirts read “58 bar stools empty;” “Hey Jason, we are here to finish what we started.”
More than 200 survivors of the #route91 music festival shooting in Las Vegas are here at #countrythunder to see #JasonAldean tonight who was playing when a gunman shot and killed 58 people and wounded 500 others. pic.twitter.com/29EC7WIuHx
— Jessica Boehm (@jboehm_NEWS) April 7, 2018
Over 200 survivors made their way to Florence for the weekend, spending time with people who were once strangers, but will now forever be deeply connected.
Debbie Engel explained to AZ Central:
Even though there’s that one evil person who thought they could tear us down, it’s brought us closer together. We’ve all become part of a family.
The group planned their official reunion to take place right before Aldean took the stage, driven to finish what they started six months ago…and that is a full set by the superstar artist. And finish what they started, they did.
To read more about this group of Route 91 Harvest Festival survivors and see more photographs from their reunion, visit the link above to AZ Central.