I first found out about the Boston Marathon bombings while I was on my way out of one class and on the way to another. There’s something fundamentally weird about hearing of a probable terrorist attack through your ESPN app. When I arrived at my next class, the instructor asked us all to forget about the events in Boston for an hour and a half and try and focus on the course material at hand. It was impossible. I was able to make it through most of the class passing between the readings and coverage of the events, but I lost it while reading a tweet about marathon runners continuing to run to Mass General to donate blood. I think the professor saw me.
After class, I purchased a six-pack of Sam Adams and T.G.I. Fridays-brand potato skins for dinner. It seemed like a stoic move at the time, a way to show support for such a beloved and beleaguered city while proclaiming my Americanism. I’m now not so sure about it.
Also around that time, as Sherman Ave co-editor I published this article, which had been written several days earlier by one of our writers. The idea being that not only was Sherman Ave ill-equipped to write about an event of this nature, but also that moments of chaos and fear required reminders of structure and humor. At the time I was not so sure about it, but now I believe it was the right thing to do.
If Sherman Ave stops being heinous, then the terrorists have won.
My high school prom date currently lives four blocks away from the blast-site, a location she often frequents. The sudden transition within myself from expressing general sympathy for the city and its victims to realizing my direct connection to a potential bystander surprised me. Thankfully, she is safe.
The phrase “death toll rising” doesn’t mean much until you watch the number of dead and wounded rise on CNN.
While I know that 9/11 was of a completely different magnitude and nature, I believe that my experience regarding yesterday’s bombing helped me to empathize with the emotions my parents and others must have felt on the morning of September 11th. In fourth grade, I had no real conception of what made the people around me so scared. But now I think I can understand a bit better the utter shock and fear that penetrated the nation after perceiving for the first time as an adult the consequences of not feeling safe as a peaceful citizen in your own nation. After 9/11 I was aware of the implications of a domestic attack, but never realized them until watching the disruption and terror from video footage of Copley Square on Patriot’s Day.
I don’t pray. But I would if it would ensure that the world would never again suffer a concerted effort to kill and maim its innocent civilians.