I posted this comment this morning, thinking it was pretty funny. And now a mere 12 hours later, we will never think about the Boston Marathon (any marathon perhaps) the same way again.
I live in a town midway between Boston, MA and Newtown, CT. Both are now sites of unimaginable, unanticipated, tragedy. Both were beautiful sunny days, days to be celebrated. Instead, today, once again, our televisions are full of news broadcasts, replays of the horrific ordeal and guesses as to the who, the why, the how. With just a mere four months between them, it makes you wonder if this will become normalized, will we come to expect tragedy at any time, for any reason?
Family and friends are running/watching a time honored tradition in Boston, one I have attended countless times myself. Photos of the first blast are taken directly in front of the building I watched the Marathon from numerous times. Our next door neighbor and seven other high school seniors took a group photo not 20 feet from the bomb blast. The picture is posted to Facebook and sent our little town, halfway in between, into a tailspin. Thankfully they wandered away before the blast and they are safe.
My children were toddlers during 9/11, we were at a playgroup at the airbase where the jets departed to try and intercept the planes that had struck the towers. Our children don’t know a world without terrorism and I worry that they accept it as normal. They believe, for the most part, that the world is good and safe and that life will go on. I can’t help but think that our children don’t really know what is good and more importantly, what a safe world looks like.
“Level One Mobilization” is what the news is saying now. “Don’t say terrorism, you’ll scare the public.” The President vows “to find out who did this”. “Are the perpetrators foreign?” “One of the victims is an 8 year old child.” The stock markets are plummeting. They are telling us to be “alert and vigilant”. “Homeland security – all cities on a heightened state of alert.” Meanwhile the video streams endless pictures of fear and suffering.
I grew up with Mr. Rogers and I do like his sentiment. The heroics of the first responders, “the helpers” are unbelievable today. Firefighters, police and medical personnel ran towards the blast and for this we are grateful and proud.
I’m not really sure why I write this except that writing seems to be how I process tragedy. In the days following 9/11, I wrote letters to my children as a way to assure myself that things would be okay (the letters are in envelopes to be opened at some later date). Perhaps by writing it down and sealing it up, this will never happen again. I was wrong, it is happening with alarming frequency and these past two events are ever so close to home. I live halfway between Newtown and Boston….