NASHVILLE, TN (WSMV) – The Rasmussen family’s 2020 Christmas would already be different, just having the four together.
“We are already trying to make the most of a lonely Christmas,” said Nicole Rasmussen. “We dressed our boys in matching Christmas pajamas. We just had the best night.
What Rasmussen couldn’t predict was that it would be memorable for a whole different reason.
“That’s when we took the last photo of our house, when everything was ready for Santa’s big surprise in the morning,” she said. “And then it wouldn’t be until three or four short hours later that we were about to knock on our door.”
“Their instructions were vague. They just called it a threat to public safety, ”Rasmussen said.
Noting the urgency in the voices of the officers who woke them up before 6 a.m., Rasmussen and her husband got their boys out of bed, still in their matching pajamas, and left.
“As we walked away from the bridge, we saw the bomb go off,” Rasmussen said.
Instinctively, they turned and Rasmussen ran down a street she no longer recognized.
“When I saw him, everything was on fire. The cars were still kind of exploding, ”she said. “Parts of the building were falling every few seconds. It was really a war zone type scene.
Almost a year later, standing in a street marked by the best and the worst of humanity, the emotions are still there.
“Every time we come down here it’s hard,” Rasmussen said, fighting back tears. “In some ways last year was the best Christmas because people just gave. They gave wrapped gifts to our children since the stores weren’t open, I know these probably came from under their tree.
As another Christmas approached, Rasmussen knew that this one – and everyone after it – would be different too.
“We have learned that the things that you really need are few,” she said. “We had the things we needed in front of us, it was our family.”