This is from my friend..
Dear Family and Friends,
The Westroads Mall in Omaha re-opened today and, at 9 :00 a. m., I went
there for my daily walk. Here is what I found:
....Mall administrators handing out candy canes at every outside entrance to
the mall as they said "Thank you for coming today."
....Free coffee and cookies set-up in the food court and all servers saying,
"Thank you for coming today".
....Many, many security guards were walking and milling around. I heard
that they had come from all over the mid-west on their day off from another
full-time job to provide comfort and reassurance.
....Every store/mall employee had a candy cane waiting for them when they
arrived....tied to each candy cane was the note, "Thank you for coming to
work and have a comforting, happy day".
....The two inside entrances from the mall to Von Maur had their gates down
and the gates were covered with tasteful white drapes, but all lights were
on.....it would have been very creepy if there had been no lights. Von
Maur management had beautiful wreaths at each entrance with a tribute letter
to Wednesday's victims. Many Red Cross volunteers had large tables set-up
in front of the two mall entrances complete with lots of paper, crayons,
pens, scissors, and tape for visitors to make snowflakes, with or without
messages and tape on the gated entrances. The significance of the
snowflakes was written in a poem....life is as fragile as a snowflake and
can be taken away from us so quickly.
....Many, many stuffed animals, bouquets and tribute cards were being left
at all entrances to Von Maur.
....Other Red Cross volunteers, who were not busy with the snowflakes, plus
Salvation Army staff and grief counselors were milling around the crowds at
the two Von Maur entrances. People knelt or stood in front of the entrances
obviously saying a prayer, there were many tears, and many hugs between
....By the time I could finally tear myself away (a good hour after my
walk), there were snowflakes being taped down the halls, the mall was
packed, it was much quieter than normal, no one seemed in a hurry, and
everyone seemed to greet passers by with at least a nod.
I have shared with many of you the wonderful way we were treated by the
people in three countries when we were in Europe during 9/11. Today I saw
the same tenderness and compassion in the hearts of our fellow citizens in
Omaha....it was touching and beautiful!
The word is being spread about watching the news for the date of Von Maur's
re-opening. If you are able, please meet by the steps at the outside South
entrance 15 minutes before the opening of this beautiful store. All
employees and management have been affected very deeply and need our
support, if even just for a few minutes.
God Bless the wonderful people of Omaha.