Christmas bombing marks another dark day for Nashville

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Debris remains on the sidewalks in front of buildings damaged in a Christmas Day explosion Tuesday, Dec. 29, 2020, in Nashville, Tenn. Officials have named 63-year-old Anthony Quinn Warner as the man behind the bombing in which he was killed, but the motive has remained elusive. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – When Sandy and Geff Lee finally saw a photo of the building that was home to their Nashville boutique on the day after the Christmas morning bombing, a quiet came over the room.

The rubble was overwhelming. Debris shadowed familiar details. Geff Lee pulled up a map to verify they were looking in the right place.

“That moment? It was silence. It was an eye-opener,” Sandy Lee said, owner of Ensemble. “It was blown up.”

The Christmas Day explosion has sparked shock across the country after a bomb detonated in the heart of Nashville's historic downtown and killed the bomber, injured three other people and damaged dozens of buildings.

Yet for those who call Music City home, the bombing feels like a cruel capstone to an already dark year.

“It won't be the same,” Sandy Lee said. “You can't rebuild that.”

In early March, a massive tornado rumbled through the city — uprooting homes, destroying businesses and killing two dozen people.

Then the COVID-19 pandemic arrived, shuttering businesses as people stayed home and the virus spread rapidly. Some people who lost their homes in the tornado saw their jobs disappear.