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Young girl singing 'Let It Go' in a Kyiv bomb shelter becomes a powerful anti-war symbol

Amelia wowed the people in her Kyiv bomb shelter with her singing. Now her voice is ringing around the world.

In the second week of Russia's invasion of Ukraine, the world watches the coverage of it with horror. We see scenes of bombed-out buildings, streets filled with rubble and debris, and desperate Ukrainians attempting to flee the violence. The beautiful capital city of Kyiv has, so far, remained under Ukrainian control but is being shelled by Russian forces and battles are being waged in the streets.

Some families have fled the city while others have holed up in shelters and bunkers, trying to stay safe. It's a hard reality to imagine, as two weeks ago Ukrainians were just going along, living their lives in the bustling, artsy metropolis, going out to dinner, enjoying walks in the park, meeting up for playdates. Now the very concept of "living life" has been turned upside-down. Now it's literally about survival.

But even in a shelter in a war zone, beauty persists. One of the most miraculous things about human beings is that we create and express ourselves through art, even in the most tragic of circumstances. The arts have a way of rushing our humanity to the forefront, reminding us that we are made not just to exist, but to live full, rich lives.

And when that reminder comes from a child, it's even more potent, which is why a video of a young girl singing in a crowded shelter in Kyiv is being shared widely.


In a video that appears to have been taken by Marta Smekhova, a little girl named Amelia stands smiling in the middle of a room full of people before opening her mouth to sing. As soon as people hear her voice, they fall silent—even a baby who was fussing just seconds before.

According to the Facebook translation of her post shared on March 3, Smekhova had been painting with a boy and a girl in the bomb shelter "to somehow decorate this not so happy place," and the girl was "so friendly, so talkative." The girl, named Amelia, told Smekhova that besides drawing, she loved to sing. Then she whispered that her dream was to sing on a big stage in front of an audience.

"So what's the matter?" Smekhova asked her. "Do you see how many people are here? That's what you sing for!"

Amelia told her it was loud and she wouldn't be heard, but Smekhova convinced her to try. So she did.

From the first word out of her mouth, the people in the shelter stopped to listen. "Everyone put their business aside to listen to a song by this girl who was just beaming light…even men couldn't hold back the tears," she wrote. "Amelia, your singing left no one indifferent."

Indeed, Amelia's sweet, clear voice ringing out touches something inside all of us. In that place and under those circumstances, especially, watching a darling little girl with two missing teeth singing her heart out is heart-rending. It's a powerful reminder of what's at stake in this war—and in any war.

The video has been shared far and wide on social media, including by Idina Menzel, the actress and singer who played Elsa in "Frozen" and sang the iconic theme song.

"We see you," she wrote in her Twitter share of the video. "We really, really see you."

Not that we needed yet another reminder, but Amelia's bomb shelter performance illustrates the real costs of war—the innocent dreams of children, the opportunity to hone their gifts and talents to shine their unique light on the world, the potential wrapped up in every person whose lives get cut short by the guns and the bombs and the insatiable hunger for power.

And it reminds us, yet again, that that cost is far too high.

Joy

1991 blooper clip of Robin Williams and Elmo is a wholesome nugget of comedic genius

Robin Williams is still bringing smiles to faces after all these years.

Robin Williams and Elmo (Kevin Clash) bloopers.

The late Robin Williams could make picking out socks funny, so pairing him with the fuzzy red monster Elmo was bound to be pure wholesome gold. Honestly, how the puppeteer, Kevin Clash, didn’t completely break character and bust out laughing is a miracle. In this short outtake clip, you get to see Williams crack a few jokes in his signature style while Elmo tries desperately to keep it together.

Williams has been a household name since what seems like the beginning of time, and before his death in 2014, he would make frequent appearances on "Sesame Street." The late actor played so many roles that if you were ask 10 different people what their favorite was, you’d likely get 10 different answers. But for the kids who spent their childhoods watching PBS, they got to see him being silly with his favorite monsters and a giant yellow canary. At least I think Big Bird is a canary.

When he stopped by "Sesame Street" for the special “Big Bird's Birthday or Let Me Eat Cake” in 1991, he was there to show Elmo all of the wonderful things you could do with a stick. Williams turns the stick into a hockey stick and a baton before losing his composure and walking off camera. The entire time, Elmo looks enthralled … if puppets can look enthralled. He’s definitely paying attention before slumping over at the realization that Williams goofed a line. But the actor comes back to continue the scene before Elmo slinks down inside his box after getting Williams’ name wrong, which causes his human co-star to take his stick and leave.

The little blooper reel is so cute and pure that it makes you feel good for a few minutes. For an additional boost of serotonin, check out this other (perfectly executed) clip about conflict that Williams did with the two-headed monster. He certainly had a way of engaging his audience, so it makes sense that even after all of these years, he's still greatly missed.

Democracy

Appalachian mom's speech on Kentucky's proposed abortion ban is a must-hear for everyone

Danielle Kirk is speaking up for those often overlooked in our cultural debates.

Canva, courtesy of Danielle Kirk

Appalachian mom gives passionate speech.

Many people felt a gut punch when the Supreme Court issued its decision on Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, which overturned the decades-old Roe v. Wade decision that protected a woman's right to an abortion. However, for some this was a call to action.

Danielle Kirk, 27, a mom of two and an activist on TikTok, used her voice in an attempt to educate the people that make decisions in her small town. Kirk lives in Kentucky where a trigger law came into effect immediately after Roe v. Wade was overturned. Being a former foster child, she knew she had to say something. Kirk spoke exclusively with Upworthy about why she decided to speak up.

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Memories of childhood get lodged in the brain, emerging when you least expect.

There are certain pleasurable sights, smells, sounds and tastes that fade into the rear-view mirror as we grow from being children to adults. But on a rare occasion, we’ll come across them again and it's like a portion of our brain that’s been hidden for years expresses itself, creating a huge jolt of joy.

It’s wonderful to experience this type of nostalgia but it often leaves a bittersweet feeling because we know there are countless more sensations that may never come into our consciousness again.

Nostalgia is fleeting and that's a good thing because it’s best not to live in the past. But it does remind us that the wonderful feeling of freedom, creativity and fun from our childhood can still be experienced as we age.

A Reddit user by the name of agentMICHAELscarnTLM posed a question to the online forum that dredged up countless memories and experiences that many had long forgotten. He asked a simple question, “What’s something you can bring up right now to unlock some childhood nostalgia for the rest of us?”

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