As you might imagine, folks in and around Boston are very subdued today. It’s school vacation week, so a lot of people are on vacation, but many more are here, and it seems everybody knows someone who was at or near the scene of yesterday’s explosions. One of my co-workers was around the corner from the Marathon’s finish, and his friend had left him to get closer to the finish line. She was a block away from the explosions when they happened.
Another co-worker was in a bar in the Fenway area. He said the bar had televisions on, as many do, and each was showing footage of the explosions, the injured, etc. While some of the bar’s patrons became subdued, others continued their loud, cheerful celebrations. He went outside to use his phone, and was not allowed back into the bar. He and his friends then moved farther from the scene and into another bar, where there were no televisions, and it appeared no one inside had any idea of what was happening in the city.
A co-worker lives in the area, and was on his roof, tending to his garden, and heard the explosions (I am 47 percent sure he’s the “rooftop guy” social media’s all abuzz about).
Then, there’s social media. How many times have we seen pictures of a little girl, running a 5K, or a little boy, running down the road, and seen claims that these two children were the 8-year-old who was killed in the blast, and he/she was running in memory of Sandy Hook. I understand the need to grieve, but at least do so truthfully. The boy’s name was Martin Richards. He was at the finish with his mom and two siblings, waiting for Dad to cross the finish line. Mom and one sibling were critically injured, and the other sibling is unhurt. It does them all an injustice for us to make up, and perpetuate stories that simply aren’t true.
A year ago, my daughter was visiting me in Boston, and we took in the Red Sox game on Patriot’s Day. The tradition is that the race and game are taking place at the same time; when the first runners cross the finish, their names are announced at the Sox game, images of them finishing are shown on the big screen, and the crowd cheers. When the game is over, some 30,000 people leave Fenway Park and mob the Back Bay to watch the end of the race. A year ago, my daughter, her friend and I were part of that mob. We watched runners go by outside the Kenmore T stop, then walked along the race route toward the finish. It’s possible the reason this has hit me as hard as it has is because, but for some quirk of fate, that could have been my daughter lying on the street with a tourniquet on her thigh, or worse.
We were lucky, because we weren’t there. So many others cannot say the same. Even those who were not injured, or didn’t lose a loved one – those who just saw the explosions and the aftermath – those people will be forever changed.
I have no words that can explain or comfort. All I have is hope. Hope that whoever did this will be caught and punished, and that Boston, and the Marathon, will be stronger because of the goodness inherent in most people. People are mostly good, and for that I am grateful. The stories and images of people running toward the blast, instead of away, so they could help the injured – the stories and images of the individuals and businesses that have gone out of their way to help those affected – those are what I will remember. Once the shock wears off, I hope we all remember the good.