It is truly an unfortunate event to have occurred here in our city, our home of Boston. I was born and raised in Brookline and Boston, so a malicious attack like this is absolutely unimaginable. It attacked me.
Earlier that day, my boyfriend and I were planning to go to the finish line at the Boston Marathon to cheer on those who accomplished the 26.2 miles with their strong persevering spirit, but we decided last minute to go to the Franklin Park Zoo. While at the zoo, I received numerous calls from my mom, who works at the Hancock Tower in Copley Square. She heard one loud noise (the first bomb) and thought that the press stage collapsed as she watched several people scurry away from the finish line. Quickly after, she found out occurred, 2 bombs set off, and called me to tell about it and to see if I was okay or at the marathon. I was at the duck pond exhibit when I received her call about the explosions. She was safe and okay, thankfully, but shocked as I am sure we all felt initially.
Shock. Numbness. Disbelief. Denial. I couldn’t believe it. It was a bombing. How? Why? WHAT? What this really true? Confusion. Hurt.
Ambulance and police sirens blasted through South Boston until they disappeared; we all knew where they were going. The afternoon news exposed it all. So many graphic images, so much blood on the ground. I could not believe Boston was painted red.
The next day…
Leaving from the JFK/UMass redline stop to go to government center and Faneuil Hall, countless numbers of staties/troopers with sniffing dogs, officers from various communities far and wide, federal officers, as well as the national guard were scattered everywhere. Boston didn’t feel like Boston. Runners wore their blue and yellow marathon jackets, but did not wear smiles on their faces. Although it was a busy day for Boston, it was eerily quiet and more subdued than in the winter. You could hear people talking on their phones about their experiences – where they were at the marathon, what they were doing, what they did after the explosions. It was the first time I’d ever experienced this – I don’t remember what Boston was like after 9/11. It was strange and felt beyond weird to have so many uniformed officials on every corner, but their mission and intention are understandable, so their presence did not bother me. It was probably one of the safest days in the city to go out, but in a strange way, it didn’t feel safe.
It still hurts when I think about what happened to Boston – how could this and why? Sometimes the unthinkable are inevitable, but I know that sometimes we are caught off guard, sudden, and surprise. A huge event concentrated with people at that moment is, sadly, the perfect recipe for senseless attacks performed by organized terrorist individuals or group(s). Their actions have indeed caught our attention.
But it does not mean this tragic event has soiled or should our patriotic hearts. As President Obama said very nicely, strongly, and hopeful, “Boston is a strong and resilient city”, and yes we flipping are! And despite the overshadow of the catastrophic events – those who unfairly lost their lives including an 8 year old and others in our community, those injured and affected – we should not forget to be prideful in those who ran and accomplished the marathon because, man, I wouldn’t be able run that! They are all winners to me. And we should have pride in our beloved city, many call home, to host these amazing events that celebrate life and vitality. Boston pride.
I don’t think the bombing will have an affect on whether or not Boston should continue to hold such events and activities – think about the other ones: St. Patty’s Day, PRIDE, 4th of July, Scooperbowl, and other numerous gatherings and festivals, they are events that we would not conceive to remove it from our program because it violates our right and freedom to do so. We are strong and therefore will continue to have these big events because they are important to us – it’s part of our collective identity. I am proud to be a Bostonian and I am strong. WE ARE STRONG!