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July 26, 2011 06:45 AM

SF Woman Born In Norway Reacts To Attacks

Sioux Falls, SD

The terror attacks in Norway are also impacting people in KELOLAND.

Eli Zephier lives in Sioux Falls but was born in Oslo, Norway.

Zephier's dad and stepmom have been spending the month of July visiting her in Sioux Falls, but they live in Norway.

"If they were at home, I definitely would be wondering where they were and if everybody was safe," Zephier said.

That's because Norway just suffered its worst peacetime attack in history. 76 people died in two terror attacks Friday.

"Many in the whole of Norway have relatives or know someone who was affected directly," Elin Kjorsvik, Eli's stepmom, said.

"My siblings who are quite young are back home and still waiting to hear from certain friends, who were thought to be on the island," Zephier said.

Zephier was born in Oslo, where the attacks took place. She grew up in Trondheim, Norway, with her family, then went to college at Augustana in Sioux Falls, where she met her husband. Even though she's lived in the U.S. for more than 20 years now, the attacks hit close to home.

"I think this is one of those ordeals that affects every Norwegian, no matter where they are, simply because it's the biggest thing that's happened to us since WWII really," Zephier said.

As Zephier's stepmom gets ready to say goodbye and head back home to Norway Tuesday, she's feeling a lot of emotions.

"I really feel we are all united in Norway. It's a good feeling in spite of what has happened," Kjorsvik said. "We are really grieving together." 

Zephier says just like South Dakota is considered a safe part of the U.S., Norway has always been thought of as a safe place in Europe. She says the biggest thing for Norwegians everywhere now is the loss of innocence.
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