As of Monday, April 15, 2013, I lived in Boston for 1 year, 2 months, and 25 days.
64 weeks, 2 days.
In the time that I’ve lived here, I’ve learned a lot about the city. It’s loud. It’s proud. It has its own iconic accent. It’s full of passionate, hard working, intelligent, driven people who know the meaning of “work hard, play hard”. It’s a city with a rich history and a strong culture. It’s a city whose residents take pride in their home. Who brave the harsh winters, embrace the cool springs and the temperate summers and frolic in the colorful autumn leaves and proudly proclaim, I AM A BOSTONIAN.
On Monday, April 15, 2013 it was a city holiday. Patriot’s Day. Many offices were closed to celebrate the rich patriotism exhibited by this old city, a city that has strong ties to the founding fathers and founding governance of the United States.
On Monday, April 15, 2013, it was the 117th Boston Marathon. An event so integral to this city’s history that people flock to line the race course and cheer on runners from around the world.
On Monday, April 15, 2013, at approximately 2:50 PM EST, a coward or group of cowards detonated two bombs at the finish line of the Boston Marathon, killing three and injuring nearly 200 others.
Martin Richard, age 8
Krystle Campbell, age 29
Lu Lingzi, graduate student at Boston College
Lives were lost. Limbs were lost. The impact on the familes of the three who died, the impact on the lives of those who were injured, and the lives of all of us who live in this proud city are forever changed.
On the morning of the race, I left for work a little early. My route to work runs through the Newton hills, right along the marathon course on Commonwealth Ave. In fact, I turn onto Commonwealth Ave right at the peak of the infamous Heartbreak Hill. I had to take an alternate route that morning, and managed to squeak through right before they began blocking off the roads to protect the runners.
I got to my desk, pulled up the race coverage on one side of my screen and my tasks for the day on the other side, and watched the elite runners chase down the glory of winning the Boston Marathon while getting some work done.
As I watched, I was awe struck and inspired. See, I’ve been planning to run the marathon in 2015 or 2016. Watching this triumph of human spirit was just so motivating and so moving.
They finished up right around lunch time. I turned off the race coverage, finished up my work, and got lunch.
Right at 3 PM, Mr Dad sent me an IM:
Followed by a link.
I clicked on the link and it was a live video of the finish line, with paper and stuff strewn about, and an ambulance. My eyes were drawn right to the video portion of the page. I didn’t have my headphones on, so I didn’t know for sure what I was looking at. I thought maybe the race was over and he was just trying to show me how messy the finish line looked. Then I thought maybe a runner was hurt and that’s why the ambulance was there.
Then I saw the headline.
“Breaking news: Explosions at Boston Marathon finish line”
My jaw dropped. My mind raced. What?? This has to be a mistake. Maybe it was a gas leak? Maybe an electrical issue? Maybe fireworks?
A few minutes later, video of the bombs going off…the first, followed by the second 10-15 seconds later, hit my screen and I knew it was no mistake. And my mind raced even more. Are there more bombs? Am I in danger? (My office is about 6 miles from the finish line, so it was pretty close to home for me.) How will I get home?
It was one of those moments you never forget. For me: the start of the 1st gulf war. 9/11. The start of the 2nd gulf war (of which my sister is a veteran). And now, the bombing of the Boston Marathon.
The biggest thing I think we can take away from this tragic event is to look at the good that took place during the chaos. The people — police and civillians — who ran right into the blast area, looking for people they could help. The people who organized to gather donations for runners stuck on the race course with no jackets (it was in the 40s that day). The people who have donated time, money, supplies, blood, and more, to help the victims. And the good that is sure to come in the coming days, months, and years.
Boston’s finest will find the perpetrator or perpetrators. Make no mistake. You don’t mess with Boston.
Let it be known. Boston is a city of resilience. Boston is a proud city, a strong city. a city rich with culture, passion, intelligent people, caring people, hard working people. It’s a city whose residents won’t let the cowardly actions that took place on Monday, April 15, 2013 at 2:50 PM EST make them live in fear. They’ll just band together tighter and stronger and make this city an even tougher city than it already is.