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Snow angels for the Sandy Hook children

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My heart was heavy with grief and anger because of the terrible tragedy in Newtown, Conn. I looked out the window at the snow coming down and felt so helpless. I needed something to do to relieve this burden.

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I decided to go outside and build snow children in honor of the children who were gunned down.

I put on my snow gear and trudged across the street to my neighbor's house and knocked on their door.

"You're going to think I'm crazy." I said. Then I proceeded to explain what I was going to do on our lots located next to their house.

He nodded that he understood, and I said goodbye and began building the snow children.

I had barely finished the first one when I heard a noise behind me. I turned and saw my neighbor, in his snow gear, begin making a snow-child.

We worked quietly together for about two hours, making child-size statues. He then said we should make bigger ones for the teachers and other adults who were victims as well. So we did.

As we worked, I thought about my neighbor. He and his wife are new to our area. She is a survivor of a senseless act of violence. He has served our country, completing three tours of duty in Afghanistan. Both of them have wounds; wounds you can't see, but they are there. They know how hard healing can be.

When we finished our snow statues, I thanked him for helping me. He replied with, "My wife is cutting ribbons to put on them."

He went into the house and came back with a handful of brightly colored ribbons.

As we worked our way down the rows of statues, I placed a ribbon around each neck. I had a sense that we were placing wreaths around white crosses.

We stood and looked at what we had accomplished. At first I thought, "It took us longer to build these memorials than it did for that man to gun these people down."

Then I realized that even though building snow children may not seem like much of a way to heal, I did feel like I had accomplished two very positive things. I worked off some of my anger and I connected with my neighbor.

Or did he connect with me?

Andrea Thelin

Akeley

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