The news first came like it almost always doesduring a birthday celebration for a colleague, someone mentioned that they had heard about some explosions occurring near the finish line of the Boston Marathon. It seemed, like things did that strangely quiet September morning nearly 12 years ago, almost too outlandish to comprehend. Could someone really have set off bombs at the end of a race like this?
By now, we know that yesterday's events were all too true. Three people, including an eight-year-old boy, have died, and more than 140 people have been injured. By whom, and for what, we don't know, except the fact that whatever person(s) or group that is behind this are cowards. That's the only word that can describe someone who puts shrapnel-filled devices in trash cans and detonates them among people gathered to celebrate victory. But what was accomplished, even if it temporarily dazed and dizzied us, was that this incident again made us stronger. As I mentioned on Facebook, there are many, many things in this country that divide us as a people, but at times like this we react as one. We may bend but we don't break.
What is so unfathomable about yesterday's events is that it took people from one of their proudest moments to one of their most afraid in a split second. I ran a half marathon in December 2009. I trained for six months, worried about the race for weeks, and although I wound up tearing my hip flexor muscle, I crossed that finish line (a lot slower than I should have). I remember how it felt to cross, to walk away with a blanket, a medal, and a banana that tasted like ambrosia. My heart goes out to those robbed of that feeling of accomplishment, and especially to those who were in the direct path of the explosions.
One of the greatest things, as I've seen in so many places on social media, is the tremendous bravery and sacrifice of the first responders and all those who provided assistance in the seconds and minutes following the explosions. With no thought of their own safety, they did what they do besthelp, comfort, and protect. I'd say, as I have so many times, that Mr. Rogers said it best: