Letter of the Day (Dec. 20): Just say hello

  • Updated: December 19, 2012 - 8:54 PM

In light of the Newtown tragedy, let's not be strangers to one another.

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Constancio Garcia wipes away a tear as he visits a makeshift memorial with his wife, Claudia, and children, Damian, 1 1/2, left, and Julian, 2 , second from right, on Monday, December 17, 2012, in Newtown, Connecticut.

Photo: Cloe Poisson, MCT

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It breaks my heart to think about the terrible tragedies we have seen. What can I do to help stop this violence, as one person who lives in this great country?

One thing everyone can do is to talk with the person directly in front of you. They can be a total stranger. Simply say hello and give the person a smile. That's all that's needed. You don't have to know their name or where they come from. They and you are all part of the human race and deserve to be treated with respect, regardless of race, color, age, gender or clothing.

A few days ago, just after the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut, I stopped on my way out the door of the local YMCA to get a coffee and saw a young man reading the Star Tribune. I greeted him with a hello and some small talk about the Vikings' recent win. Soon, I sat down, and before I realized it, I was having a heart-to-heart conversation about his work, his kids, and how kids need guidance and forgiveness.

All I did was open my ears and listen. This brief conversation really made a difference to me. Did it to him? I don't know, but it made me more aware that, as Anne Frank stated in her diary: In spite of everything, I still believe that people are really good at heart.

NICK ROWSE, BURNSVILLE

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