Remembering the Boston Marathon Bombing

Marathon Monday is a beloved tradition in Boston, Patriots Day, on which we run and cheer and film and celebrate what we believe to be the greatest city in the world. Some of us have lived here our entire lives; some are transplants from other states, other nations; regardless, Boston is a home to all. It is a center of progress and innovation, and the marathon is a celebration of strong athletes from across the globe.

 

This year, an invisible haze will hang over the finish line. It has hung there since 2013, dust from the bombings that never quite settled. This April 16, 2018, it will have been five years since our belief in Boston's invincibility was shattered.

 

Five years.

 

I was born in 1999, too young to remember the tragedy of 9/11 but old enough to be growing up in the generation which now knew that the United States was not indomitable. But, my child’s brain thought that those threats were to New York, or Washington D.C. As much as I loved it, Boston was not a national capital or an international center of business. Our city was little, and thus I never expected it to be the target of a terrorist attack.

 

I was standing in the kitchen, getting orange juice from the refrigerator, as my parents and sister lingered in the living room. The marathon was playing on the TV in the background; no one was paying attention. “Mag, come in here.” My father turned up the volume on the television, confusion capturing both those onscreen and at home. There had been a bombing near the finish line of the Boston Marathon. We texted everyone we knew who may have been there, and after ascertaining their safety, began to calm down. It was a tragedy, but the bombings seemed to be over. The police were searching for the suspects.

 

It was three days later and the initial buzz had quieted. The FBI released photos of the suspects, and it seemed as though the good guys were going to win. Then suddenly, Sean Collier, MIT police officer, was shot.

 

I think that one of the scariest moments my family has ever experienced is when my college freshman brother called at 11:00 PM to tell them that he and the rest of his MIT a cappella group were in lockdown, closed into the basement of one of the university buildings. A shooting, a carjacking, and a manhunt were occurring around my big brother, and I was praying that the nineteenth birthday he had celebrated the day before wouldn’t be his last. Thankfully, students were soon cleared from lockdown as the police focused their search on Watertown, and caught both perpetrators, the Tsarnaev brothers- one dead and one alive.

 

It has been five years, and our city has not forgotten. Despite a violent attempt to put us down, the bombings did not stop runners from crossing the finish line the very next year. The bombings did not stop our marathon. The bombings did not stop our fierce, little city. Five years later, we are Boston Strong.