Willie Nelson Honors Family of Uvalde Shooting Victim, Shares Powerful Message

by Clayton Edwards
(Photo by Brandon Bell/Getty Images)

The gubernatorial race in Texas is heating up. Early voting starts later this month and the election day is November 8th. With all of that in mind, Beto O’Rourke decided to hold a campaign rally at the Moontower Saloon in Austin. He invited country music icon and legendary Texan Willie Nelson to be part of the show.

Like many country artists, Willie Nelson has long been vocal about his political leanings. He’s been a staunch advocate for cannabis legalization and, in recent years, has shown his support for the Democratic party of Texas. So, seeing him at O’Rourke’s campaign event wasn’t a shock for most. It was, however a treat to hear the icon sing a handful of songs.

Before Willie Nelson performed for the 5,000 people in attendance, O’Rourke made a fiery speech. According to Fox 7 Austin, the Democratic candidate railed against Governor Greg Abbott’s response to the tragic school shooting that took place at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas. Then, he added, “We are so lucky right now to be joined by some of the family members of Jackie Cazares.” Cazares, 9, was one of the 19 children slain at the Uvalde school in May of this year.

Willie Nelson Offers Good Tunes and Soothing Words

After O’Rourke finished his speech, Willie Nelson took the stage to play a 15-minute set. Billboard reports that he played all-time classics like “On the Road Again”, “Whiskey River”, and “Deep in the Heart of Texas” during the set. Willie finished the set with his 2018 ballot box banger “Vote ‘Em Out.”

After he finished playing, Willie Nelson walked to the edge of the stage and addressed Cazares’ family. “To you folks there, the parents who are going through some incredibly sad times, remember that it’s not something you get over. But, it’s something you will get through,” the icon told them.

Jesse Rizo, the uncle of Jackie Cazares, spoke to The Houston Chronicle about the gesture. He said that every day is hard for his family. However, hearing those words from Willie Nelson helped him to see that they’re not alone. “You get inspired by the support, the people, the love,” Rizo told the outlet.

Willie Nelson never lost a child to a senseless mass shooting. However, he does know what it’s like to lose loved ones. His son Billy hanged himself in December of 1991 at the age of 33. In February of 2020, Nelson’s longtime friend and drummer Paul English passed away after contracting pneumonia.  More recently, Willie lost his sister Bobbie in March of this year. So, he knows all too well how it feels to lose a loved one and can speak from experience about the struggles of a grieving parent.