“Two years, Tons of tears, still #BostonStrong.”
This remarkable phrase was written on a sign being held by a Boston Marathon spectator today. I think it pretty much sums up what everyone in New England—possibly the world—feels.
Two years ago, terrorists invaded. They caused massive disruption and destruction. They maimed many, killed 4, and broke the hearts of millions (mine included). Even now, it’s hard for me to process what happened.
On that fateful day, I was working fulltime as a Realtor. I was just wrapping up a client meeting and heading back to my office as the news broke. A large group of my fellow agents were huddled around the reception desk. A few ladies were crying. Unaware, I was confused. Words like “bombing,” “Marathon,” and “mass casualties” were whispered. I couldn’t help but gasp, utterly shocked and horrified. Another agent we worked with was in the race!
We didn’t know if he was dead or alive…
Our office didn’t have a TV, but everyone had Smartphones and/or laptops, and we watched the coverage on those, hoping for an update about our co-worker. Details in the beginning were very sketchy and fatalities were grossly over-estimated, so we were fearing the worst. About an hour later, a call came in, reassuring everyone he was ok. I can’t even begin to describe the relief we all felt!
Shortly after, most of us decided to leave early and go home. I spent the drive listening to AM radio, praying and crying, so afraid for everyone at the scene, wondering why this was happening. Why would anyone want to target the Boston Marathon, an event that represents everything that’s good in society, where every race, religion, and nationality is welcomed, working their hardest to achieve a common goal.
I didn’t have an answer then and I don’t have one now. I will never understand why bad things happen to good people. I will never understand why evil flourishes in every corner of this planet.
As that day wore on into night, 3 confirmed deaths were announced, including a young American lady, a little boy, and a Chinese exchange student. Oh, how my heart ached for their families and friends! It was so painful for me just to watch, and I wasn’t involved. Their suffering must’ve been beyond bearable. More tears, more anguish, many questions. Why did my co-worker live when they died? How would Boston, as a city and a People, manage?
Manage they did, by treating the wounded, burying the dead, catching and trying a killer, and truly coming together. #BostonStrong isn’t just a catchy phrase, it’s a hardcore belief for those of us who live in the Boston area, and those around the world that love this great city. Obviously, the terrorists underestimated how fiercely loyal Bostonians are to their city. Nobody is going to dare disrupt it without consequence.
Hearts are still heavy, two years later, but a recovery is slowly starting to emerge. Willing to battle the cold, wind, and rain, runners and supporters turned out in full force, bringing hope to millions. God willing, runners will be cheered on for another 100 marathons to come, inspired by thousands of good men and women—truly amazing people like marathon legends Dick and Rick Hoyt, a father and son team that have been participating since 1977! (For those who don’t know them, Rick is wheelchair-bound due to Cerebral Palsy and Dick pushes him while running.)
Most touching of all were the folks running in honor of the victims. “Never Forgotten” and “Always in our Hearts” may be overused phrases, but in this case, I think it’s truly justified. I never met any of the victims, but they’ve greatly influenced me and numerous others. They were beautiful people with promising lives ahead of them who will be missed forever.
In Memory of Krystle Campbell, Martin Richard, Lingzi Lu, and Sean Collier.