Most of you are by now aware of the tragic events of April 15, 2013, when two explosions occurred at the Boston Marathon, killing three people and injuring hundreds. After what is being referred to as a week of horror for the city, one bombing suspect is dead and the other, as of April 26, 2013, has just been moved to prison.
I count myself among both the lucky and the unlucky for being where I was that Monday: safe on my way to New York City, I was headed away from the explosions and was completely oblivious until a few hours after my arrival at my destination. What was intended to be a vacation turned into a guilt trip - I wanted nothing more than to be back home in Boston. My city had been attacked; who was I not to suffer alongside the rest?
Over a week later, I was finally where I wanted to be. Last Wednesday was my first trip into Boston after the explosions. The tragedy had been on my mind all week, and my fear and grief had twisted my expectations of what was usually a friendly area into something not quite so inviting. I imagined Boston had become something of a ghost town: dark and dreary was what I pictured, sadness everywhere and few people on the streets after the lockdown it had been pinned under.
And that is the reason for this article: it wasn't.
Boston was beyond my most optimistic expectations. The sun was shining, people were in the streets. Yes, there were armed forces milling about, and there were less people than usual, though that may be attributed to my visiting hours of early afternoon on a weekday, but it was so much healthier than I had imagined. It was beautiful, though maybe I looked through a lens of appreciation I hadn't possessed before.
Spring had sprung while I was away. Boston was not the crippled metropolis I had inferred from the media - it was still the home I knew. I drove right past the bombing memorial. Seeing everyone who had come to pay their respects, and then noticing sides of buildings that had been scribbled upon by passersby, wishing the city well - "Boston strong" was popular; "FBI peace"; "We love you Boston" - almost reduced me to tears.
You see, Boston is tough - the toughest city I know. A tragedy occurred where almost no one expected. Terrible things have happened. Boston won't forget. The world won't forget. The memories of those who lost their lives in the attack, as well as the stories of those injured and affected in any way, won't fade from memory. But I know Boston will rebound. Money is being raised for the victims of the attack; I know that there's also a group of lawyers who are planning to use their services to help the businesses that had to close down as a result of the explosions receive proper compensation from their insurance companies. What happened to Boston was awful; yet if there's a silver lining, we get to now see the best in people, the good that everyone is willing to do, and how united Boston is and how much more united it has become.
When Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was transferred from Beth Israel Medical Center to Fort Devens Thursday night, there was a sense of finality. It wasn't over when the first suspect was killed; it wasn't over when the second was caught. It wasn't over as he lay in serious condition and the city struggled with the ghosts of the misery it had seen. But now, it seems there will finally be a chance for Boston to resettle itself, at least until Tsarnaev's hearing scheduled for May 30.
I believe in Boston. What I saw on Wednesday proved beyond a doubt that Boston is resilient. We will not be bowed by terrorists. We can get back up and continue living and show them they haven't scared us. In a time when Boston should have broken, it pulled itself up taller and said, "We're not stopping for you." We've been hurt by this; we will never forget Lu Lingzi, Krystle Campball, Martin Richard, or Sean Collier. Yet by continuing life with even more passion and gladness than before, we can show an appreciation for what we have in a time of tragedy. Maybe that determination will spread to others and inspire instead of discourage.
We have all been scarred by this event. It will take a long time for the immediate pain to fade. The hurt will always be there. We won't forget the fear. But we can still look life in the eye and say that we're happy to continue. Thank you, Boston, for showing me how to look up when tragedy tells us to look down; I love you.