Sandcastle Built in Tribute to Brussels Victims | NBC 7 San Diego

Sandcastle Built in Tribute to Brussels Victims

It’s a pile of sand with a timely message, giving even strangers a reason to stand together.

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    Bill Pavlacka of Paradise Hills, California spent the day on the sand, talking with complete strangers as he built a tribute to the victims of the Brussels attacks. NBC 7's Steven Luke reports. (Published Wednesday, March 23, 2016)

    Bill Pavlacka of Paradise Hills, California spent the day on the sand Tuesday, talking with complete strangers as he built a tribute to the victims of the Brussels attacks.

    The sandcastle build actually began Saturday at the base of the Hotel del Coronado just west of downtown San Diego.

    Pavlacka adds a little to it each day until it stood more than 7 feet.

    But the piece wasn’t attracting as much attention until Pavlacka wrote “We love you Brussels. Stand strong.”

    “And almost immediately someone came up and said my family is in Brussels and thank you so much for doing that," Pavlacka told NBC 7.

    With the Hotel Del Coronado drawing visitors from all over the world, Pavlacka's creation ended up as the center of an emotional melting pot.

    The pictures and conversations never stopped.

    “Show some solidarity with people being terrorized and want to stand strong against the terrorists,” he explained to a passerby. “Do what we do, go out to the ball game, go out to dinner, don't let them don't let them win."

    Deena Sandez stopped by and said she couldn’t find the words to describe what the sandcastle meant to her.

    "It's just real emotional to come by, it's a big tribute,” Sandez said.

    This is not the first time Pavlacka has used his art to express his feelings following a terrorist attack.

    He made the Eiffel tower out of sand following the November 2015 attacks in Paris and witnessed a similar response from passersby on the beach.

    He hopes this sculpture stands as long as possible, giving as many people as possible a chance to see it.