A week ago today the Boston Marathon bombing changed the city of Boston forever. Since last Monday emotions have gone from horror to anger, to sorrow, to determination, and finally jubilation when the two young suspects were found. Many victims are still in Boston hospitals fighting to get well and preparing for long recuperation, wondering if their lives will ever be the same as they were before April 15. Funerals for the three victims who died in the attack, as well as the MIT police officer gunned down last Friday, will further remind Bostonians what was lost that day.
I walked around Boston yesterday wanting to visit the memorials and show support. I felt the need to be there because watching the news on television wasn’t enough. A large area of Back Bay is still cordoned off and investigators continue to scour every inch of the pavement for evidence. I saw numerous people with FBI and ATF jackets, and a large number of Boston police officers stationed to keep the area clear. Men and women in white jump suits were lined up walking slowly along one street still looking for any evidence left by the bombers. Numerous cars, shiny black SUVs with tinted glass (right out of central casting), were parked along the side streets with yellow police tape and steel barriers clearly marking off-limit areas. I wasn’t expecting to see all this activity now that the brothers are dead or captured, evidently the authorities want no stone unturned, and no errors made that might help the defense during the trial of young Dzhokhar Tsarnaev.
The number of news vans parked around the area is staggering – everywhere you look there are large vans with antenna that reached several stories high – big logos for CNN, NBC, Fox and others. I turned a corner and CNN’s Wolf Blitzer was sitting in a directors chairs surrounded by piles of equipment, cables, cameras, and personnel. Wolf would speak several sentences then stop and listened for a few minutes, then speak again. I watched CNN most of the week and it was interesting seeing him speak live in front of me. He seemed oblivious to the many people standing around taking pictures and staring at him.
A memorial at the corner of Boyleston and Hereford Street is growing thick with notes to victims, flags, flowers, stuffed animals, t-shirts, candles, and even a Dr. Suess book. Two police officers were keeping people from entering the off limits area, and also trying to keep them from being run over by the traffic trying to enter Hereford street! At one point a young woman approached the officers and asked to shake their hand, thanking them for their service.
In contrast, as I left the solemn atmosphere of the memorial site and walked around the corner to Newbury street, everything was different. The city is packed with people enjoying a day off, sitting outdoors at restaurants and cafes, strolling with baby carriages, families on their way to the afternoon Red Sox game, people eating ice cream, talking on cell phones. The contrast was powerful. Life goes on was the message all week – Boston Strong. As the weeks go by no one will forget the tradegy, but life will go on. It has to or the bad guys will have won.
At the end of the day I was glad I went into Boston, but realized I have no more insight into why this happened. I hope the young man recouperating in the hospital can shed some insight into why he and his brother purposefully and heartlessly caused so much pain and sorrow to so many innocent people in the city that adopted them.