For once in my life, I was speechless. I sat at work while news poured in through social media and the radio. Rumors and half truths kept coming and going. No one had any idea what was going on. I complained that morning that I had to work as a few of my friends headed into Boston to see the marathon and pub crawl. The first thing that struck my mind was a frantic thought if they were safe. Cell phones were spotty as the towers were shut down. I luckily heard from all my friends as the text messages and facebook messages came in. Some of my friends were near the blast, some were far from it, but the impact hit the entire city and the outlying areas immediately. The part I will never forget is the panic and confusion. As I watched the videos and looked helplessly at the still pictures online, I just felt confused.
Why Boston? How could it be Boston? Boston is the safest place ever! Nothing bad ever happens in Boston! Words that I believed for my entire life. Words that are no longer true. It feels different. Over the course of the years, I watched countless tragedies happen in the US. The Oklahoma City bombing while at Easter at my grandparents house in Florida, the Columbine shooting while eating breakfast before school. 9/11, safe from my dorm room before my “Experiencing the Arts” class in college. Each and every horrific event I watched calmly and stoicly from a distance, feeling terrible and scared for the victims…but sadly enough, it was like watching a movie…it was unreal…it was so far from me. This event, while nowhere near the scale of 9/11 hit me even harder. While I am lucky it did not directly effect anyone I know personally, it happened in my home. MY HOME. Some god-awful dirtbag decided to bomb the Boston Marathon. Somewhere in his or her twisted mind, this seemed like a good idea to make a statement, or whatever the reason may be.
The Boston Marathon, to me, is Boston’s greatest celebration. It ranks up there with the Pops, 4th of July, and First Night on New Year’s Eve. The Boston Marathon isn’t just a race. It isn’t just a party for people to stumble around Boston with their friends and make asses of themselves. This is why I was so confused. The Boston Marathon is an event that brings people together. Not just from Massachusetts…not just from the US, but from the whole world. Contenders from over 30 countries and all 50 states travel to this event to compete, to watch, and to have fun with their families and friends. For someone to hinder and devastate such an event is an atrocity. It is not a political statement, or a social outcry. It is downright evil.
Now the rebuilding begins. Families mourn, friends comfort each other, and total strangers show why being human is the greatest gift we can receive. Sadly, it takes an event such as this to show the kindness and extraordinary charity we are capable of. Strangers offering their homes, runners donating blood after running 26 miles, and the bravery of the police, firemen, national guard and witnesses are brought to light. Support and well wishes from cities and countries far and near poured in. The anger soon set in as people want answers. They want a face to place this disaster on. Boston is a great city, and it’s people are hard. We will get through this. I look forward to the Boston Comic Con this weekend at the Hynes Convention Center. I will make my way into the city, through heightened security, bag checks, and delayed T trips to the best convention the East Coast has to offer. I was questioned today as to whether I would be attending or not, and when I answered yes I received a shocked look of disbelief. Damn right I will be attending. I don’t care, and that is one step we all need to take. Stand up, and don’t let the people wanting to interrupt out way of life win. The term terrorist is used a lot. Many people automatically assume and think of Middle Eastern terror groups…which bothers me to no end. A Terrorist is someone who spreads fear, terror if you will, by any means, and wishes to interrupt the normal flow of society. We, as a people have a choice. We can be afraid, we can hide, we can stop our hobbies and careers and live in a state of not knowing what will happen. Or, we can go about our business, because that is what the people that cause disasters like this don’t want happen. I for one, refuse to let that happen.
With that, I have to say these last two days have been sad. It is the best word I can describe them as. I watched the video over and over. I watched the poor old runner fall as the shockwave from the explosion hit. I watched the military personel and police lift guardrails and flags off bodies. I saw the blood drenched sidewalks. I saw pictures of amputees. I saw a picture of the poor 8 year old boy whose life was taken far to early. However, the one thing that hit me the hardest, the one moment that struck a deep cord inside me was right after the blast. As the explosion happened, a solitary yellow balloon was let go and drifted into the air as the smoke rose from the sidewalk. As it drifted into the air, people screamed and ran. As the yellow balloon drifted higher and higher, panic struck, confusion and fear took hold, and Boston would never be the same. Any sense of normality and calm disappeared from our city as that single yellow balloon vanished in the sky.