On November 18, a magnificent crystal ornament began to illuminate the heart of Manhattan from high overhead at 5th Avenue and 57th Street. Enormous and delicate, the 3,300 pound UNICEF Snowflake is 28 feet tall and 23 feet wide and contains 16,000 individual crystal prisms. This glittering emblem and its crystals represent an inspired and committed community who have pledged to safeguard the world’s children. Like many events in New York during this holiday season, the raising of the UNICEF Snowflake inspires both celebration and contemplation. And while the appearance of the Snowflake symbolizes the commencement of the holiday season and serves as a tribute to UNICEF’s lifesaving work, it is also an acknowledgement of how far we still have to go.
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My name is Anne Chamblee and I am an American Airlines Flight Attendant based at John F. Kennedy airport. I am a proud “Champion for Children” for UNICEF’s Change for Good program on American Airlines and volunteer my time while on the job to collect donations of foreign and domestic currency from AA customers to help UNICEF save children’s lives.
Timothy Legeros is a Domestic Flight Attendant with American Airlines, based in Boston. He decided to become a “Champion for Children” volunteer for the Change for Good program after a personal battle with Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. The support of his fellow flight attendants left him with a longing to repay the kindness and generosity that had been given to him. Helping raise money for Change for Good on American Airlines has given him an outlet to “pay it forward” to others who are less fortunate.
Throughout the holiday season, the UNICEF Snowflake is suspended above the intersection of 57th Street and 5th Avenue in New York City. It serves as a symbol of hope for children around the world, and reminds us to never forget the 25,000 children that fall prey to preventable causes every day across the globe.
When the Snowflake is taken down in mid-January, it returns to its just-as-glamorous home away from home… a cozy warehouse in Harlem, New York. Stored in five giant crates (3 branches per crate, and one for the core), the Snowflake is tucked safely away for the year with many of the other holiday decorations that transform New York City into a winter wonderland.
|© U.S. Fund for UNICEF/2009|
|Anne Linder in front of one of the 5 crates that hold the UNICEF Snowflake.|
In preparation for its 2009 debut, the Snowflake will be inspected for damages. Any broken or damaged crystals will be replaced (a cold winter can take its toll!) and new engraved crystals will be installed.
The UNICEF Snowflake will reappear in mid-November; polished, rested and recharged for its light to be seen around the world.
Be sure to visit unicefsnowflake.org to learn more.