For four years Copley Square and Boylston Street were my home, the place I felt most comfortable in the world. I went to high school 4 blocks from the Boston Marathon finish line, at a school that let us come and go as we pleased during free periods and lunch. My best friend and I would wonder around, complaining about the small problems that seemed overpowering in our teenage minds, trying to seem older as we sipped lattes in the Starbucks that 10 years later would be destroyed by yesterday’s bomb.
Yesterday shook me up in ways I’m still trying to come to terms with. When I first saw the news headline that two bombs went off, my train of thought was immediately “Are my parents, sister, and brother-in-law watching at the finish line? Or somewhere else? What if I just lost my whole family?” I frantically tried calling their cell phones as the lines repeatedly went straight to voicemail, tears filling my eyelids. When I finally reached my Dad he confirmed they were all fine. Even so, I still couldn’t shake that feeling of panic that I could have just lost the people I loved most in the world. Lucky for me it was only a feeling, nothing permanent, although I did call my mom multiple times yesterday just to hear her voice.
I’ve read a lot of people’s mixed reactions to this event. Some people point out that this sort of thing is common place in some parts of the world and that we are lucky these are so rare. This is true and we, as Americans, are incredibly fortunate to go about our day-to-day lives with very little threat to our well-being. The fact that more people die through self harm or obesity related illnesses than are murdered makes us very fortunate. The fact that these events are rare makes them no less tragic and heart breaking, but it should encourage people not to hide and not to fear going out in public. You are still far more likely to be harmed driving to work every day than in a mass attack.
On a smaller scale, it is also a shame that 4,000+ people who trained day in and day out for years to compete in this prestigious race did not get a chance to finish. For those who did, who may have been dreaming of this day their whole life, it will forever be tarnished by this horrible event.
Similar to 9/11, the Aurora Shootings, and smaller scale events that happen every day, I find the most important thing to do is look to those who risked their own safety to protect and help strangers in need. Those qualities are inspiring, and if there is any message to be taken from this horrific event it is the reminder that the number of good people in the world far outnumbers the bad.