Tim McGraw's Special Tribute


Tim McGraw performs onstage during the 42nd Annual Academy Of Country Music Awards held at the MGM Grand Garden Arena on May 15, 2007 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Frank Micelotta./ACMA/Getty Images for ACMA)

May 21, 2007 — Tim McGraw's performance of "If You're Reading This" during the Academy of Country Music Awards last week brought the crowd to their feet and tears to many eyes.

After a closed rehearsal set and days of speculation over what Tim would be performing on this year's show, fans and TV viewers were surprised with an emotional tribute to the families of America's fallen heroes in the war on terror. Nashville's WKRN reports that the song was only written three weeks beforehand and was a complete surprise to everyone.

As Tim sang "If You're Reading This," which he wrote with the Warren Brothers, tears began to flow in the arena packed with industry execs and fans. Toward the end of the performance, lights on stage revealed nearly 100 spouses, children and relatives who stood in memory of their loved ones — in total representing 32 fallen heroes.

Tim said he didn't realize the impact of the song until afterward when one of the children from the stage approached him. "This little 5-year-old girl tugged on my sleeve and said, 'You just sang a song about my dad, didn't you?'" Tim related, adding, "No matter what side of the politics you fall on, these are people going over there sacrificing their lives for what they're sent to do."

The Palm Beach Post reports that Tim paid all of the expenses to fly the family members of the fallen heroes to Las Vegas to participate in the performance.