“Love Like Justice” Lights Up Glendive, Montana
When I got into town on Thursday for the GATE Show in Glendive, I asked our friends and family what is going on in Glendive. One of the first things they told me I needed to do was to go see the bridge that is now lit up at night.
They told me how a local girl died at the age of 18 in a car accident, and how the community responded to her loss by lighting up the bridge over the Yellowstone River. The bridge was first lit up just over a month ago on New Years Eve of 2022. It really is something you have got to see.
I had the honor of meeting Angie Hagen on Friday morning as she shared her daughter's story.
"This is Justice Hagen. She was a cheerleader. A cowgirl. And when she died, it changed our lives forever."
When her daughter died in the summer of 2020, Justice Hagen was just 18 years old. Angie talked about how the whole community had wrapped their arms around her and her family.
Angie Hagen: The day after Justice was killed in an accident, I asked all her friends to write or paint on a building of mine downtown Glendive of Justice's name. So all of these people started this "Justice Art Alley", and it was it was done within a matter of days. And as Darren, Justice's dad, and I were at the Justice Art Alley looking at everybody's artwork, I noticed these three words: love, like, Justice. And at that moment I just knew that something was going to happen with those three words.
That's when she started Love Like Justice and got the idea to light up the historic walking bridge in Glendive. The community raised thousands and thousands of dollars to light the bridge, and it has served not only as a tribute to the memory of Justice Hagen (nicknamed "Juice")- it's also been a light of hope for the community of Glendive.
Angie Hagen: It just made people incredibly proud of Glendive. The Bell Street Bridge has always been a landmark of Glendive, but now it's just like this beautiful thing that everybody- there just, the pride is there. I feel like Glendive- it's just an absolute gem. When Justice died the amount of people that gathered around us and supported us and did just the most amazing things- our community is is a great community.
How can Montanans "Love Like Justice"? As Angie tells us: be kind, go on an adventure, don't take life for granted, have fun, and dream big.
Here's the full audio of my chat with Angie Hagen on Friday morning at the GATE Show in Glendive: