10/05/2010 AT 4:00 PM ET
Audrina Patridge and Tony Dovolani dedicated their emotional wartime waltz on Monday’s Dancing with the Stars to America’s fallen soldiers and their families – those whose heartbreak and sacrifice the couple dramatized in their dance.
The pair won raves – along with two 9’s and an 8 – for their performance, in which Patridge portrayed a woman dancing with the ghost of her dead soldier sweetheart. Afterward, they reflected on the resonance of their story in a time of war.
“This story fit so perfectly,” said Patridge, “especially with what we’re going through right now, and all of our soldiers who have died and the families who have to go through that. So, we wanted to dedicate it to the families and everyone in war.”
Dovolani had a particularly deep connection to the subject matter. An Albanian American born in what is now Kosovo, he revealed that he lost 36 members of his family in the Kosovo war in the late 1990s.
“American soldiers are the reason we’re free there, so for me, it was many, many layers of meaning behind it,” he said. “So, it was just my way of saying thank you, and you have not been forgotten.