As Josh and I settled down to watch TV last night, we suddenly noticed an influx of Facebook postings in relation to the Boston Marathon. For those not from Boston, this is a day that is widely celebrated by Bostonians. Not only is it Patriots Day but it's also Marathon Monday, a celebration of sportsmanship, the oldest marathon in the WORLD. It's a holiday in Boston and so many people go out to the race route to cheer on the runners. Approximately 500,000 spectators watch this marathon along the route. This is a race run by people from all over the world but we also have local heroes that run the race like the father - son team Hoyt, a father who year after year pushes his son in his wheelchair the entire 26.2 miles. The wheelchair racers. People are running for charities. People are running for those that can't. They run for their own personal best, to say that they've done it. They run for all different reasons.
And yesterday that all changed. Yesterday is the perfect example of how we have let our guard down. To a degree. Because while terrorists (and I don't care if they are home grown or from abroad, anyone who bombs a sporting event is a terrorist in my mind) did manage to get in and cause significant damages and even death, if you look at the first responders, you'll know that Boston was as prepared as possible. Pre-9/11 I don't think that half of the security would have been there. This could have been worse, much worse.
Thankfully it wasn't. That's not to say it wasn't bad because it was. But thankfully it wasn't worse. Thankfully the police were able to find those additional bombs and dismantle them before they caused further damage. Watching the news it appears that the first responders knew exactly what they were doing and were prepared for anything - clearing block upon block to ensure the safety of the citizens and visitors of Boston. However, once again senseless violence has occurred too close to home. And once again, it makes me thankful to live 4000 miles away from these events. And yet, I ache to be there right now... this is Boston (Bosty as Liam calls it) and no matter how you slice it, it is home.
Josh and I watched the news last night not believing what we were seeing. We kept commenting on how this was so reminiscent of 9/11 (where we were also 4000 miles away in the other direction on our honeymoon). Our children have never known a time before 9/11 and it saddens me. And with events like the Newtown school shootings and now this massacre at the Boston Marathon, they may never know a time when society can live without having to have a heightened sense of awareness, the wondering, when the other shoe will drop.
As Josh and I contemplate our future and where our lives will take us, occurrences like these are factors that most definitely affect our decision making process. This morning we had to tell the kids what happened yesterday at home. It was bad enough telling them about the Newtown shootings this winter and while that hit home because of their friends in Newtown, it was still slightly outside of their view of "home". Boston on the other hand, is home in their mind. They are extremely proud of their city and where they come from.
Liam's reaction was as expected. He understood the facts but not the emotion. He doesn't understand the fear that is a result of such a tragedy or the sadness knowing that Boston will never be the same again. He understands that a bad person blew up bombs that hurt and killed people in his Bosty.
Aidan on the other hand, reacted slightly different. And I'm still not 100% as to where he is emotionally with it. He seemed to understand the facts. He even compared them with Newtown a little bit. But a few minutes later when Liam poked him, as little brothers do, he burst into tears. Something very unlike him. And tonight with more time on our hands compared to this morning, we will talk to him again to see how he is feeling.
We discussed that a little boy Aidan's age was killed because of these senseless attacks. This little boy was waiting for his father, his hero, to cross the finish line. He was waiting with his mother and his younger sister who are both critically injured. It makes me sick to my stomach to think that we have had to talk about different forms of terrorism with our small children in just a matter of months. I remember as a child we would occasionally hear of kidnappers posing as ice cream truck drivers and the like. We never talked about bombings or terrorism. We played outside from dawn til dusk. Not our kids. They don't play outside without supervision and we talk about things like people hurting other people and why.
However, let me note that during our talk this morning that we also discussed all the good in the world. We will not let terrorism win this war. We will not live in fear for our lives. We will have to be more vigilant but we need to remember that the good outweighs the bad and as long as that is the case, everything will be ok. That there were many heroes yesterday that made a difference. They stepped up when they were needed. They were everyday people who just did what had to be done in order to help others.
We have plans to go home this summer for 3 weeks. Right now I'm feeling torn. Never have I felt more proud to be a Bostonian. To be a part of this community even from afar, we are incredibly lucky. But I also feel a little scared, even violated. To know that we are going to have to be more vigilant when we are home doesn't feel right. When we go home we just enjoy our time there - we don't think about our actions and our travels, we just go and do. And now this has been tainted like it was back around 9/11.
However, like 9/11, I already see our city coming together. We take care of each other. We support each other. Boston is an amazing city - small yet abundant with history and pride. Bostonians are made of tough stuff. We will come together as a community and as a country. We will move onward and upward. We will show these terrorists that we are better than this and that they can't mess with the best city in the world. No matter what I write about the differences about living abroad and living at home, one thing will never change - Boston you're our home...
Peace and love,