Jason Aldean was the artist on stage during the Route 91 Harvest Festival in Las Vegas when a gunman began firing into the crowd from a hotel across the street, killing 58 people and injuring over 800. On Thursday, Aldean marked the three-year anniversary of the tragedy with a post on his social media accounts, sharing a photo of a memorial set up after the shooting to honor the victims.
"Hard to believe it’s been 3 years since Route 91," he wrote. "That night was probably the worst night of our lives and not a day goes by that we don’t think about the people who lost their lives and the families who have forever been affected by it. October 1st will always be a day for us that is extremely hard to relive. To everyone in the Route 91 family, we love u guys and we couldn’t have gotten through it without you. #CountryStrong #Route91family #VegasStrong."
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Aldean, his band and crew were all able to get to safety during the shooting, as was his wife Brittany, who was pregnant with the couple's son Memphis at the time. "I was confused," Aldean said last year during a speech at Country Radio Seminar in Nashville. "I didn’t know what was going on. My wife was eight months pregnant. That was scary. I didn’t know where she was at. You’re scared, you’re nervous. It was just really chaotic. One of the words I summed it up with was chaos."
The Georgia native added that he "probably should have gone to a few more therapy sessions than I did" following the tragedy. "Honestly, for me, being able to talk to my guys, talk to people that I was close to, being able to talk about it to somebody who understood how I was feeling, that helped me tremendously," he said. "The other part of that was getting back on stage [and] mentally getting through some shows."
One week after the shooting, the singer returned to Las Vegas to visit with some of the victims, which he called "the hardest thing I've ever done."
"I was really glad we went there, but it was tough to sit there and see people who were at our show a few days before," he said. "To me, it was gut-wrenching. I felt a responsibility to go there and have some face-to-face time with them and laugh and cry — whatever they wanted to do."
"I left with a whole new feeling about the whole thing, and I was so glad I went," Aldean continued. "It was one of those eye-opening, life-changing days that I'll never forget."