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Minnesotan in Norway: 'Biggest tragedy since WWII'
Jul 26, 2011 | 2046 views | 2 2 comments | 5 5 recommendations | email to a friend | print
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The rose vigil for victims the shooting and bombing in Norway attracted over 150,000 people. (Photo by Kristina Kelly)
“I have never seen anything so powerful, strangers were hugging and crying in each others arms,” reports Kristina Kelly, a 2006 Chaska High School graduate, who is now living in Norway.

Kelly is studying photography in Oslo and sent the Herald photos of a large rose vigil held July 26 in memory of the more than 70 people killed in bombing and shooting attacks.

Anders Behring Breivik is accused of both July 22 attacks.

Kelly reports:

I was actually supposed to be in the city on the day of the bombing but due to rain we decided to stay at the house. We are living about 35 km (22 miles) south of the city.

I was sitting in my room when I heard a rumbling and just thought it was thunder but at the same time it was strange because it only happened once. About 20 minutes later I found out the sound was actually the bomb explosion. We were all in shock and turned the television on right away.

Everything was in Norwegian and eventually we found an English channel, CNN. About two hours later more breaking news about a shooting on the island of Utoya. There was a mood change in the house, everyone was silent just listening to the news, e-mailing and calling home to let their families know we were alright.

Being photographers, part of us wanted to be in the city photographing everything that happened but not knowing exactly who was involved with this we decided it was safer to stay put.

Once I heard of the shooting, I felt a little weary and unsafe but after calling home and talking to my dad, he told me there is go-ing to be more security there so you should be just fine. It really gives you a perspective on your life and that you should never take anything for granted. You never know what can happen.

The rose vigil on Monday was full of emotion, tears, hugging, the whole community came together to morn these young people. There were over 150,000 people who attended. It was a sea of people, I have never seen anything so powerful, strangers were hugging and crying in each others arms.

This entire country was affected even if they didn't know someone. One guy I met said “This will only make our country stronger, we will have more protection for a day or two but we aren't going to let this change the way we run things here. We don't need to have police carry weapons here because then criminals and other people will carry them as well.”

He and many other people said they felt safer knowing it was a Norwegian shooter instead of an immigrant. Everywhere I went people were saying “this kind of thing doesn't happen here in Norway, in many other places but not here. We live very peacefully and this just doesn't happen.”

This is a huge event that will never be forgotten here in Norway, this is the biggest tragedy since WWII.

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July 27, 2011
Things I do not have: a personal trainer, a rock-climbing wall, unicycle riding lessons or the criminal record necessary to get any of the above.

If alleged terrorist Anders Behring Breivik finds himself at Norway's Halden Prison, he could enjoy an array of amenities designed to rehabilitate more than punish.

Check out the slideshow here: and then let us know what you think of Norway's approach to prison life.
July 26, 2011
Incredible photographs, Kristina. These are powerful and beautiful.
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