Sponsored By
An organization or individual has paid for the creation of this work but did not approve or review it.



Fargo-Moorhead-area residents in Oslo at time of blast

FARGO - Concordia College student Kelsy Johnson was at a downtown coffee shop in Oslo when she heard a loud blast first believed to be demolition work.

FARGO - Concordia College student Kelsy Johnson was at a downtown coffee shop in Oslo when she heard a loud blast first believed to be demolition work.

"I looked out the window and (saw) hundreds of people running. Many of them were on their cellphones. Others looked like they couldn't possibly run far enough away. One woman covered her face as though she was in shock. This was the point that we knew something bad had just happened," Johnson wrote online.

Johnson, a Concordia senior and Bismarck native, was in Oslo on scholarship from the college to attend the International Summer School at the University of Oslo.

The scholarship is in connection with the Nobel Peace Prize Forum.

Johnson said she was shocked, like many of those around her.


"At first, I was not sure what happened. We had no reason to suspect that the explosion happened as a result of the bombing. The Norwegian that I was meeting with said that nothing of that kind had ever happened before," she said in an email interview Friday with The Forum.

Yet, in the country that awards the Nobel Peace Prize each year, locals were concerned for everyone in the area. One man approached Johnson, concerned she as a tourist was OK.

"I felt like people were looking out for each other. I was really touched that a native Norwegian was looking out for us," Johnson said.

Other Fargo residents were reportedly in the area at the time of the bombing. Emily Anderson told CNN reporters she was a block away in a store with her sister and cousin when the bombing occurred.

"It was scary. It felt like 9/11," she said.

More than 5,100 miles away at the Hjemkomst Center in Moorhead - which commemorates Scandinavian cultures rich in the Red River Valley - Norwegian descendent Markus Krueger said Friday he was shocked to hear of a bombing in Norway, originally suspected as an act of foreign terrorism.

"My first thought was, 'Why Norway?' " Krueger said. "Norway has a reputation for being a very peaceful country, at least after the Viking age."

According to the latest census data, more than


4.5 million Americans are of Norwegian descent. More than 30 percent of North Dakotans have ties back to Norway, and about 17 percent make up Minnesota's population.

Verlyn Anderson, retired director of the Concordia College library and professor of history and Scandinavian studies there, has escorted more than 40 tours to Norway. Anderson said Friday he was shocked to hear about the bombing.

"Norway is very nonviolent, although Oslo in the last decade has seen a rise in crime rates."

Anderson was busy Friday trying to contact friends in the country and learn more.

"The country is in total shock," Anderson said.


Readers can reach Forum reporter Wendy Reuer at (701) 241-5530

As the West Fargo editor, Wendy Reuer covers all things West Fargo for The Forum and oversees the production of the weekly Pioneer.
What To Read Next
Get Local