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Love Letters

By Phyllis Stark

Nashville is the kind of city that wins people over right away.

Whether they're moving here for business or personal reasons or visiting as a tourist, the city has a tendency to make instant fans out of its new residents and visitors alike. Many have come here to pursue their dreams-in music, literature, cuisine, education or many of the city's other great draws. Some planned to come for a while but stayed for a lifetime. Others were happily born and raised here and can't imagine living anywhere else.

That civic pride was challenged in May when Middle Tennessee residents were forced unexpectedly to cope with catastrophic, deadlyflooding that caused more than $2 billion in damage. But cope they did. The stories that emerged most clearly from the devastation were of neighbors helping neighbors, strangers lending a hand, peaceful cooperation in challenging circumstances, and unselfish sacrifice on the part of thousands of Nashvillians who gave their time, talent and money to help the flood victims.

Many fundraisers were held, the most high profile being the Nashville Rising benefit concert, organized by Faith Hill and Tim McGraw. More than 20 major celebrities performed at the show, which raised $2.2 million for flood victims, to be dispersed by the Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee.

In the end, the flood's most tangible legacy was making Nashvillians even more proud of their hometown. That sentiment inspired this cover story. Read on as celebrities from music and other fields share what they love most about this great city that country singer Luke Bryan calls, "a big town with a small town vibe."

For the rest of this article, pick up a copy of this magazine at Davis Kidd Booksellers, Finer Bookstores/Nashville/Brentwood Area, Nashville Metro Airport, and Publix in Brentwood