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Justin Moore‘s new single is a tribute to the military and first responders — and PEOPLE can exclusively share the music video, which also honors the victims of school shootings.
The video for “The Ones That Didn’t Make It Back Home” features clips of military troops on the ground, students hiding in their classroom and police and firefighters arriving at the scenes of tragedies.
The music video was directed by Cody Villalobos, Moore’s social media manager and a former emergency medical technician, and was conceptualized while the band was on the bus heading to play a benefit concert for Parkland students in September.
Last year on Feb. 14, 17 teenagers and adults were killed in the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida.
“I felt that only showing military visuals didn’t give tribute to everyone who might connect to this song,” Villalobos told PEOPLE of choosing to include references to school shootings, “and not to all who inspired Justin to write the song in the first place. Since we were on our way to a tribute show for a school shooting, that was fresh in my mind. I had to pay tribute and honor the ones that didn’t make it back home from school, as well as home from the line of duty and overseas.”
“The Ones That Didn’t Make It Back Home” is the first single from Moore’s forthcoming studio album, Late Nights and Longnecks, to be released April 26 via The Valory Music Co. (a division of Big Machine Label Group).
“Just like most people are connected to someone in these lines of duty, I wanted to portray the residual effects of losing someone and how many people it affects,” Villalobos said of the video.
The music video starred real firefighters, and veterans were on set to help explain the correct way to wear the military gear. The video was filmed on Veterans Day in 2018.
“Here’s to the ones that didn’t make it back home / The ones we ain’t seen in so long / The hold up a beer ones, the wish they were here ones / The not forgotten but gone / They’re in a better place up there,” the song lyrics read.
“I’m of the belief that when God allows you to have a platform like I have, you’re supposed to use it for good,” Moore, 34, said at the benefit concert in Parkland in September. “I’m a father of four. I send each and every one of them to school every day and drop them off… My first prayer is that they’ll come home safe that afternoon. I can’t even fathom what these families up here — and maybe some of you guys — have had to deal with and the difficulty this has caused.”
In June 2017, Moore and his wife Kate welcomed their fourth child — a son named Thomas South, who joined daughters Ella Kole, 8, Kennedy Faye, 7, and Rebecca Klein, 4.
“Just know that from me and my camp that we’ll be praying for your continued healing,” Moore continued, “and we hope and pray that one day, at some point, you’ll see your loved ones again.”