WATCH: Ashley Judd Delivers Powerful Opening Remarks at Celebration of Mom Naomi Judd’s Life

by Lauren Boisvert

Tonight, Ashley Judd welcomed friends, family, and fans to the Ryman Auditorium to celebrate the life and legacy of her mother Naomi Judd. She thanked everyone for attending the memorial and spoke emotionally about her mother’s successes and hardships, events in her life that made her a pillar for both people who knew her personally and those who only knew her as the mom half of The Judds.

Naomi Judd was a victim of unfortunate circumstances in her life, and Ashley mentioned this in her opening remarks. Yet, Ashley continued, Naomi became stronger, more resilient, and was a loving, doting single parent to her two daughters. She nurtured Wynonna’s musical spirit, and knew she was there to harmonize; she was the support for her children, and for so many others.

Ashley–who recently spoke about her mother’s struggles on Good Morning America–opened the ceremony with grace and incredible resilience. The auditorium is full of light and love for Naomi. Her daughters and husband are sitting front row, and the stage is covered in flowers. It is an honor even to watch this celebration of an amazing woman and her inspiring life.

Fans took to Twitter to show their love for Ashley Judd and her strength. “@AshleyJudd and @Wynonna appropriately starting the tribute to their mother on expectedly, effectively emotional notes,” wrote one Twitter user. Another posted photos of Ashley Judd, who looked angelic tonight for the ceremony. One simply wrote, “@AshleyJudd, Love & peace be with you.”

Ashley Judd Thanks Guests for Attending Memorial Service, Wynonna Brings The House Down With Her Voice

Ashley Judd has a way with words that touches us all emotionally, but Wynonna has the voice that brings us all together. At the end of the celebration of Naomi Judd’s life, Wynonna sang a rendition of “Love Can Build a Bridge” accompanied by the choir from their church that brought the Ryman Auditorium to its knees.

Additionally, Wynonna announced that she was going to continue with the reunion tour she was planning on with her mother. She then launched into “Love Can Build a Bridge.” She commented on the fact that she didn’t know if she could perform without Naomi, but that her mother would continue to carry her like she carried her for 38 years when they sang together. In a heart-wrenching performance, she sang alone on the stage; but, she had the whole auditorium there to sing with her.

“Love Can Build a Bridge” is the perfect song to close out a celebration of Naomi Judd’s life; it was one of The Judds’ most popular songs, and Naomi and Wynonna sang it together recently at the CMT Awards. That performance marked the first time they had performed together in 20 years. For Wynonna to close with that song, along with the choir and the entire auditorium singing along, certainly made for a special night.