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“But more should be made of the bridges that were built that bonded together this community of one-time strangers,” Rybak said. “It would be a mistake for us to think our role as a beloved community of faith is over. Our challenge now is to sustain our compassion over many years to make sure that we heal wounds.”
After the service, victims’ families and survivors seemed reluctant to leave. Ron Engebretsen, whose wife, Sherry, was among the 13 who died, embraced school bus driver Kim Dahl and others.
While some family members stayed away from the formal memorial events, saying they were too political, others found the day’s activities therapeutic.
Linda Paul, 57, recalled the “screeching metal, grinding concrete and hurtling downward.” She suffered five fractured vertebrae and cracked ribs. Her left cheekbone was rebuilt and her eye realigned.
“But I’ve learned about the companionship and compassion of other people,” she said. “In many ways, this has been a very positive experience just because the support and emotional connections have been so striking.”