April 16, 2013
In 2008, my seven-year-old daughter, sister and I took the T to Copley Square in Boston, and watched the Marathon runners cross the finish line on Patriots Day.
My sister, then a doctoral student in nutrition at Tufts, was well versed in the ways of the big city.
A longtime resident of Maine, I had some trepidation about facing the crowds, the noise and the sheer vastness of the urban setting.
This was quickly diminished by the experience of watching people gratefully--often euphorically--reach the end of a 26.2 mile journey that had (for most) been many months in the making.
My sister greeted several acquaintances among the finishers. She had herself run the Boston Marathon previously, and knew the route well.
It was a beautiful April day. Flowers were blooming. There was an air of holiday and celebration.
My daughter and I enjoyed the comraderie and the crowd energy generated by runners and spectators alike.
Fast forward to Patriots Day 2013.
Another crowd gathers to watch the Marathon runners enter Copley Square. It is a beautiful April day. There is an air of holiday and celebration.
An eight-year-old boy, his mother and sister, stand among the spectators, waiting for his father to cross the finish line.
A bomb explodes. Then another.
The boy and two others are killed immediately. His mother and sister are critically injured.
Countless others are maimed and wounded.
Word of the tragedy immediately spreads through social and mainstream media. We hear of yet another irrational, evil act perpetrated upon those whose only crime was attempting to live their lives.
Very little separates us from those who were impacted by this crime.
For most, it is an issue of timing.
I am a runner, my sister is a runner and many of our siblings are runners. We have run Boston, and other marathons across the country.
I am a mother with children who have often watched me cross the finish line at races.
I am sad and angry that a pastime I love has been tainted by senseless violence.
I am sad and angry that an eight-year-old child lost his life.
Today I laced my sneakers up and ran for those who no longer could.
And prayed that Boston would somehow find the strength to persevere, and heal, in the face of its lost innocence.