Tree's grow along a line, each standing tall and proud, but also to commemorate each child who died at the hands of a shooter who raided the Nickel Mines one room Amish school house.
For those who don't remember or are not aware, on October 2, 2006 a truck driver killed children in cold blood. It was an act of evil.
Yet what happened afterwards defines the power of forgiveness and reveals the power of one line within the Lords prayer;
"as we forgive those who trespass against us"
Given the choice, many of the Amish victims of this crime choose the path of forgiveness as a way of dealing with this evil. As impossible as it was and is to imagine, families directly effected by this act, parents who lost children found peace in letting this go by forgiving the shooter.
What is important for all who study this, is to realize that "forgiveness" was work, it took an amazing effort and tested the faith of those involved to the breaking point. It was not easy to forgive the man who took your child. This kind of evil hurt.
Yet the work, the effort of forgiveness took hold, as families reached out to the shooters wife and began to do things. What could have been acts of revenge and retaliation which would have escalated anger and bad feelings, was replaced by positive energy.
Over time, forgiving allowed those hurt so badly to "let it go," and move on with life in ways I find unimaginable.
It is also very important to understand this, the bad feelings of horror and loss are not gone. Each person within the community does suffer sadness and flashbacks and sadly many will for the duration of their lives.
But with forgiveness, many of those who experienced the loss are able to "let it go" by planting tree's, building the New Hope School, erecting fences around schools and going about the work of the day.