I woke up like I always do: pick up my phone to check messages. It was a surprise that greeted me. Like many on my timeline who opened twitter for the first time that day, we were all greeted by the horrible tragedy that unfolded in Boston. Boston would always have a special place in my heart. The city, and its people had left a positive impression on me.
I have no family in Boston, and I have no friends living there. I would always regret not asking my dad how Boston was like. He had spent a few months there, many years ago. And I just wanted to compare my own experiences with his. I met life long friends in Boston.
Just a few months ago, I had spent a few days walking along Boylston Street where the first explosion. I bought a pair of gloves at that sports store, right where the bomb blew off, and where the Philippines’ flag flew to greet our runners, but fell as the explosion and early responders went in. I saw how Americans voted, right in front of the Boston Public Library. It was the same spot where I saw Elizabeth Warren’s supporters chanting a few meters away, and the Senator-candidate then, and now Senator, walked by to greet them. This was right across where the first explosion took off. I had walked the flight of stairs at the Lennox hotel that stands right across the Boston Public Library. I listened to what “Binders Full of Women” meant. I bought a cup of coffee from the Dunkin’ Donuts just across Lennox. There I saw a bum, open the Dunkin’ Donuts door for a disabled person. He was, in every appearance, happy, not bitter as one would expect of bums.
And did I mention the people? They were all nice. Welcoming.
I remember, Lexington. Those guys walked us through the field where the American war for independence began. Also, who could say no to cookies and milk by the Grandmothers for Obama?
I would always think of Boston like a bright beacon. It is sad to think that such tragedy would unfold in a city, and state that gave such a positive and welcoming atmosphere. Not to mention, on a day, and marathon that celebrated all the best things humanity is about. It was a marathon that symbolized “the coming of spring,” CNN wrote. And they’ve been doing it since 1897.
It makes it hard to think that tragedy could strike at the heart of Boston. Almost as if the universe wanted to screw something up. This is how bad it was, Kevin Cullen of the Boston Globe writes, “I went out Monday night and bumped into some firefighters I know. They said one of the dead was an 8-year-old boy from Dorchester who had gone out to hug his dad after he crossed the finish line. The dad walked on; the boy went back to the sidewalk to join his mom and his little sister. And then the bomb went off. The boy was killed. His sister’s leg was blown off. His mother was badly injured. That’s just one family, one story.”
I was glued to CNN. And their eyewitnesses recounted heroism. People helping the fallen. Reports of others willing to donate blood, if need be, from runners who had just finished the race. “Strangers helping strangers,” David Abel of the Boston Globe writes. “Many were fleeing, but many were running to the wounded. They ripped down the metal barriers separating the runners from spectators. Unsure of whether there would be another explosion, these strangers risked their lives to help other strangers, performing CPR, comforting those in shock, and carrying the wounded to the nearby medical tent.”
It is tragedies like this we see the human spirit fall amidst the crushing weight of the universe, and it would seem to rise up. Yes, the world is a little darker today. The challenge that now falls on the survivors to live on, and one can only hope they have the strength to rise above this tragedy, and prove evil does not triumph over the human spirit. When blood is scrubbed out of the pavement, and the survivors live through the pain to suffer through the long night of lives forever changed; with tragedy paid for by blood, we see the heroes in humanity.