Part of my everyday life, at one time
By the spring of my first year at Boston College Law School, when I was still a "1L" as they say in law school, I was finally comfortable with the "T," I'd been to Quincy Market and Faneuil Hall more times than it's necessary to recount, and I discovered Newbury Street. Ah, Newbury Street. I had no money - main characteristic of a law student, along with carrying around heavy books - but I loved walking up and down Newbury Street.
Still, I hadn't figured everything out. So, when I was asked, "What are you doing for the marathon?" I couldn't help but wonder:
A. When is the marathon?
B. It's on Patriot's Day? Oh. What is Patriot's Day?
C. I'm supposed to have plans?
As it turns out, Patriot's Day is a big deal in Massachusetts and, like a Jersey girl would make sure to have plans at the shore on Memorial Day (me!), I suddenly realized I had to have plans on Patriot's Day or risk being a big, fat Bostonian loser (not me!).
Luckily, BC Law was a very social law school. So, the students with the apartments along the marathon route were gracious enough to be the party hosts.
And it worked like this:
In a tank top.
After the long Boston winter.
Cheer on the runners.
Verdict: It was fun.
I haven't been back to Boston since I graduated over a decade ago but, last year, when I turned on my TV and watched what happened, I had a familiar feeling.
Before law school, I had worked in the World Financial Center in downtown Manhattan. On 9/11, I was, actually, in law school in Boston. I didn't have class that morning and watched it all unfold, watched a place I knew so well experience something so horrific.
"I know that street.
I know that place.
I can't believe THIS is happening THERE.
I know it THERE so well. It used to be part of my everyday life."
I felt the same thing last year.
I'm certainly not saying my horror is any worse than anyone else's horror at witnessing these events and I'm certainly not comparing myself to the true victims of any of these tragedies. It's just surreal to see a place you know so well experience something so sad and awful. It's surreal and I'm sure many can understand.
Thank G0d for everyday heroes
The other surreal thing - which I am sure we've all thought, no matter how well we know the site of a tragedy or not - is to wonder what we would do if we were there.
I can't lie - I honestly think I would run in the complete opposite direction of the blast. I don't think that's a character flaw - or maybe it is - but I think it's more a matter of instinct. My instinct would be to run - away.
So, as I watched the news coverage from last year's event, the thing that amazed me the most were the police officers who, not even seconds after the blast, ran straight toward the site of it, ripping apart the barricades, not knowing what they were going to see or find, but just heading in that direction to help. Period.
Just like the images of all of those firefighters, running up the stairs of the World Trade Center with eighty pounds of gear on their backs, not knowing what they were going to see or find, but just heading in that direction to help. Period.
After the marathon last year, a quote from Fred Rogers was shared many times on social media. His mother used to tell him that when he saw scary things in the news to look for the helpers, that you will always find people who are helping.
So, in the spirit of Roses, today, I am grateful ~
- to Boston and BC - thanks for the memories!
- but, mostly, to all of the heroes everywhere, the "helpers," the people we sometimes forget about as we get on with our busy lives but who are waiting in the wings to help should something scary happen, the people who sign up to do what our instincts tell us not to, in order to help possibly preserve a stranger's life. Thank you is not enough, but thank you.
Thank you for reading!
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