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Alexandria display encourages visitors to 'Be the Light'

Alexandria display encourages visitors to 'Be the Light' (Jay Korff/ABC7)

The Washington D.C. area is aglow this holiday season with festive lights, but in Del Ray, a charming neighborhood in Alexandria, residents are sharing their light from within.

“You know, we were driving past and I saw this wall of light," says Del Ray resident Margie Brand.

Nancy Belmont created this huge public installation of paper slips and battery operated candles. It’s called “Be the Light.”

“Well my life purpose I think is to promote human flourishing," Belmont said.

The concept is simple. Take that thing that shines inside you, write it down and then attach it below a candle.

Some, like Mollie Thorsen, came to honor a loved one who recently passed away.

“It’s so nice to be the light for her," Thorsen said.

This wall of light also defines a second chance at life for Margie Brand.

“I went through a very dark moment about three years ago when I was in a terrorist attack," Brand said.

Brand was captured then released by terrorists during the shopping mall attack in Kenya in 2013 that left dozens dead.

“And I think that this kind of wall and the intention setting is something that truly allows us to decide to shine and to commit to that all the time," Brand said.

Every day we get to choose: darkness or light. This simple structure reminds us that we are connected by our hope in ourselves and each other and somehow, this simple public space has turned into a place of expression, reflection and healing.

“It says a lot about our neighborhood but it also says a lot about this time, what we are going through as a community, as a country and as a world. I think if we could set every day and set our intentions of being the light than the world would be a better place," Brand said.

If you want to participate, you have to make it quick. Half of the 1,050 candles have been used. The display will be up until December 26.

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