This piece was written by me on April 16, 2013, in response to the bombings at the finish line of the Boston Marathon the previous day. I present it here as it was initially written, without editing.
Twenty four hours ago, I was in my house, my mother in the other room on her cell phone, when she ran into the room and declared that there are been an explosion at the Boston Marathon. I was of course surprised, but thought nothing of it. A pipe probably burst, or mainly something involving a manhole cover. Unfortunate, with maybe a couple of people injured, but nothing too bad. I put on the local news and found out that this was a lot more than a manhole cover. I knew that this would was serious.
Roughly twenty-four hours ago, two bombs were detonated at the finish line of my beloved Boston Marathon, an event I’ve seen almost every single year. As of now, three people are dead, and over one hundred forty wounded on a street that I have walked and driven on too many times to count. My grandmother was an eyewitness to the explosions and was lucky to escape unharmed while a friend of mine was within yards of the second bomb. A brother of a family friend was injured, having an eardrum burst by the explosions. I’m lucky to say that that is the only injury that I personally know about.
But the biggest impact of all of this has to do with my psyche. It was on a street I know, in a city I’ve spent months, even years of my life in, and affected people I know and love. The fact that the bombs hit this close to me, in an event that I have always viewed with respect and love, is the biggest shock of all. You always feel safe in some sense of security, until something like this happens.
Now my city has to deal with this, a situation they shouldn’t have to deal with, a mere span of twelve seconds that will rock and place a stain that this city hasn’t seen since the British opened fire on citizens on a snowy March evening nearly two-hundred fifty years ago. I can’t tell you how it feels to know this. It’s something I’ll always probably remember and have to deal with. I can’t even imagine how the family of the victims are feeling.
But I do there is a silver lining in the two smoke clouds that erupted over Boylston Street. We all have seen the amazing examples of the brave first responders and average citizens who entered the confusion to save lives and to show that in the face of destruction and terror, there is some human goodness. My friend, only a building over from the second bomb and my grandmother, close enough to see and hear the explosions vividly, were helped away from the danger, from the smoke and from the brink of death, by unknown, brave men and women, who helped them get home safe and sound. I don’t think I can’t ever express my gratitude in words to those men and women, let alone the city of Boston. They prevented those three lost lives into becoming several dozen.
Now, twenty-hours after the bombs, the city mourns, reflects, and remembers, the victims, the broken glass, the smoke, the damage done to our minds, our bodies, our beloved city, our shared human experience–but also those who spat in the face of terror and death and became true heroes. Let us make sure to hug those we love a little closer tonight–it’s the most we can do. I won’t let those cowards change me–Boston won’t, either.