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Luke Bryan paid tribute to those who lost their lives on one of the darkest days in American history this week.
The country crooner's Farm Tour brought him to Three Sisters Park in Chillicothe, Illinois, for the 20th anniversary of the September 11th terrorist attacks. Bryan marked the solemn day with an a capella performance of "The Star-Spangled Banner." With his hat in one hand and the other over his heart, the Georgia-native led the crowd in a moving version of the national anthem.
"Tonight, we played for all those we lost 20 years ago," he wrote alongside a video of the moment on Instagram. "#NeverForget."
Leading up to the anniversary of the attacks, Bryan spoke with Now Decatur on how those tragic events in New York City and Washington, DC. shaped him.
He recalled being woken by a phone call from his late sister that morning—just 10 days after he moved from his small hometown to pursue a music career in Nashville.
"I never will forget. I was in bed and my sister called and said, 'Turn on the TV. A plane had flown into the World Trade Center,' and I turned it on and like so many other people, I saw the second plane hit," he told Now Decatur. "And at that moment a lot of innocence is forever lost and that's certainly when the world changed. And I remember almost getting in the car and going home and spending some time with my family, but I wound up kinda toughing it out in Nashville, but it was a challenging moment being away from your family when that happened."
Unfortunately, Bryan knows a thing or two about tragedy.
Bryan has been open about the events that have shaped him and his family, including the deaths of his brother and sister. The country star addresses past traumas and ongoing grief in his new five-part docuseries Luke Bryan: My Dirt Road Diary.
"We tell the story to let people know if they're having stuff in their life that's challenging and tough, that they're not alone," he told Taste of Country. "Life is a tricky beast."
Bryan's personal experiences with loss made Saturday's patriotic performance even more moving.