MABEL, Minn. - On Tuesday morning, Mabel-Canton students and faculty, the Arneson family, and other community members gathered outside to release lanterns into the sky in remembrance of two students: Avery and Aiden Arneson.
One year ago, 17-year-old Avery was driving her siblings north of Decorah when according to State Patrol, Avery lost control of the vehicle and entered the other lane. A vehicle struck the passenger side of the Arnesons' vehicle. Their 3 brothers survived the accident, but Avery and 13-year-old Aiden did not.
"It was nice to do something to remember them all together. It was really emotional for everyone who has been with them," say Lexi Thorson and Payton Danielson, president and vice president of the student council. They played sports with the "They were always fun and their smiles were contagious. They always knew how to cheer you up and they were both very outgoing girls. They knew everybody and touched everybody."
Students wrote messages to attach to the lanterns. The idea is that the notes would fly up into the sky and symbolically join Avery and Aiden.
One year after the accident, Danielson and Thorson tell KIMT that the day was emotional for everyone involved. "It kind of just hits us hard... It feels like it could be the same day that it happened," explains Danielson. "It doesn't seem real," adds Thorson.
The lantern release was originally scheduled for Monday night, but it was moved to Tuesday at 9 A.M. because of the wind.