Tim Mcgraw stunned guests at the Academy of Country Music Awards in Las Vegas last night (15May07) with an emotional tribute to the families of dead soldiers.
The country star donned all black to perform I'm Already Home towards the end of the event, and there wasn't a dry eye in the house when the darkened stage was lit up at the close of his song to reveal a group of grieving U.S. soldiers' families.
Under the banner Families of Fallen Heroes, the group stood proudly, some clutching photos of their loved ones who lost their lives in Iraq and Afghanistan.
The awards show guests rose to their feet to give MCGraw and his special guests a lengthy standing ovation, and many were seen crying and wiping tears away. MCGraw's wife Faith Hill, who was among the audience, sobbed as she raised her fist in the air.
Singer Carrie Underwood, who claimed the Top Female Vocalist prize immediately after MCGraw's performance, began her acceptance speech with a salute to her fellow country star.
She said, "Alright, everybody's thinking it, I just gotta say, 'Tim MCGraw, I know you're backstage. That was absolutely amazing. There was not a dry eye in the house.' Good job."
Earlier in the evening MCGraw was himself the centre of a sweet tribute when teenage singer Taylor Swift performed her hit Tim MCGraw at the event.
She left the stage and walked into the audience to serenade the subject of the tune and his wife. Before last night, Swift had never met MCGraw. At the end of her song, she reached out a nervous hand and said, "Hi, I'm Taylor."
Show host Reba MCEntire said, "That's sweet."
Country trio Rascal Flatts also paid an inspirational tribute to the families of those who lost their lives in the Virginia Tech massacre last month (Apr07) during their performance of He Ain't The Leaving Kind on the show.
Among the other live highlights at last night's country celebration included a collaboration between Big + Rich and John Legend and a duet between show host Reba MCEntire and Kelly Clarkson.