Local woman shares story of ties to Brussels bombing victim

- Terrorist attacks have, sadly, become common enough that some of us have become numb to the carnage.

But what if you knew one of those killed or injured?

What if they were a longtime friend?

FOX 29’s Bruce Gordon, traveled to Bucks County to get one local woman's story.

You're barely a teenager.

A job change for your dad uproots your family, and you wind up in Belgium.

There, you meet other kids with similar stories.

You build friendships that last well beyond graduation.

And then one day, the global terrorism that -- till now-- has been an abstract headline-- leaps off your TV set or computer screen, and rocks your world.

"It was probably the most memorable days of my life-- I wish I could go back!"

Nedra McCormac spent 7th, 8th and 9th grade, at the International School of Belgium in Brussels, back in the early 90s.

It was there, she met a fellow student by the name of Sebastien Bellin.

That's "Seb" in a photo taken by Nedra during their school Olympics.

"He was a good guy.  He was very athletic.  Very willing to help.  Generous.  He's one of the good ones.  That's all I can say:  he's a good one!" McCormac said.

Seb became a professional basketball player in Belgium, while Nedra returned to the U-S.

But, like many ISB students, they stayed in touch over the years-- via Facebook, phone calls, reunions...

Then came the terror attacks in Brussels.

Amid the debris and smoke -- amid the dead and injured, there it was:  a still photo of her longtime friend, lying on the floor of the Brussels airport, blood pouring from his mangled left leg.

When asked what her first reaction was when she saw the photos, Nedra said, "Heartbroken.  It was very emotional, seeing him lying on the floor in that picture."

"Oh my God -- I was just at work and it was an 'oh my God' reaction."

As she watched the footage of this week's bombing aftermath, Nedra's mind raced back to her days with Sebastien as young teens at ISB.

"When we were in Brussels, we had bomb threats, pretty much on a daily basis when we were there,” Nedra said.

"Even way back when."

"We probably enjoyed having fun on the bleachers," Nedra said.

"That's probably what it was back then.  We didn't even question it. And here, it's actually happening."

Those threats they ignored as kids are now all too real - acts of terrorism, carried out with frightening regularity and gruesome efficiency.

And now, Nedra's longtime friend is among the victims.

Bruce Gordon asked, "Have you been able to contact his family at all since this?"

"I have.  I have.  just making sure that he's okay, in good spirits.  He's gonna need that-- a lot of support.  And he's got that-- we call it ISB Strong.  We're Bellin strong right now,” Nedra said.

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