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Darkness of totality enlightens Charlottesville couple in WNC

"It was really great to see the good people of Brevard shutting down from 2 to 3 o'clock," said Edward Strickler, who traveled with Jim Schneider from Charlottesville, Virginia. "All the city offices closed and enjoying life together." (Photo credit: WLOS Staff)

For some onlookers, the great American eclipse was a great escape.

A Charlottesville couple saw the astronomical event as a beacon of hope.

"It was really great to see the good people of Brevard shutting down from 2 to 3 o'clock," said Edward Strickler, who traveled with Jim Schneider from Charlottesville, Virginia. "All the city offices closed and enjoying life together."

It's been an emotional week in Charlottesville after Heather Hayer was rammed by a vehicle while protesting a demonstration of white supremacists.

They believe the eclipse is more than meets the eye.

"This is amazing!" Schneider said during the moments of totality that left Brevard briefly in the dark.

"And this is how we change," Strickler said. "Group together and enjoy nature and find new ways to bond as society. But that's a message I hope we can learn."

On a historic day, many kept their eyes on the prize.

Francisco Reyes and his kids traveled from New Jersey.

"I just wanted to make sure I got the total eclipse of the sun here," Reyes said with his children by his side.

They watched the sky for a moment of darkness that somehow enlightened all of us. Before totality, the wait galvanized onlookers.

"It's gorgeous connecting here," Reyes said. "Everybody's excited. We're really getting close to that total eclipse."

The eclipse meant different things to different people.

Totality was a short-lived, but, for some, the impact of the moment will linger.

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