At the start of the relief concert all five of the U.S. Presidents-Barack Obama, Bill Clinton, George H.W. Bush, George W. Bush and Jimmy Carter-took the stage, put their hands over their hearts and stood together during the playing of national anthem.
Known for his longstanding commitment to volunteerism through Habitat for Humanity, former President Jimmy Carter praised the millions of hours Americans gave in volunteer service previous year but challenged them to do even more moving forward. He said while the devastation caused has been "heartbreaking", it has illuminated "the spirit of America at its best, when ordinary people step up and do extraordinary things".
"There's still work to do", Clinton said.
But even their popularity paled in comparison to surprise musical guest Lady Gaga who arrived bearing a promised $1 million donation of her own. "It can be a new beginning if we just do what we ought to do and prove that the heart of America, without race or religion or political party, is greater than our problems".
Former president George W. Bush joined his peers in honoring his father and also noted to an elated crowd he was glad for the opportunity to introduce his fellow presidents to "one of the finest universities in the United States".
"This wonderful effort reminds us that we truly are one nation under God, all unified by our values and devotion to one another", Trump said in the message. He and Melania Trump expressed gratitude for their "tremendous assistance". She tweeted: "Nothing more attractive than everyone putting their differences aside to help humanity in the face of catastrophe".
The former presidents all attended a concert in College Station, Texas on the campus of Texas A&M University as part of the appeal. "I would go, yes", Carter said, explaining that he, like many, is "afraid, too, of a situation" sparked by the war of words between President Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.
An appeal to help hurricane victims backed by the five living former presidents has raised $31 million since it began on September 7.
Jim McGrath, a spokesman for George H.W. Bush, says the hurricane relief effort has raised at least $31 million since it began September 7.