Once again, the hustle and bustle of an American work day was brought to a grinding halt by another tragedy. A day
that should be filled with joy and celebration was literally brought to
its knees by a senseless act of cowardliness. There are very few
traditions left in our culture that bring out the spirit of brotherhood
and humanity, The Boston Marathon is one of those traditions.
Carlos Arredondo carrying a bloodied US flag at the scene of the Boston Marathon explosions. Photograph: Darren Mccollester/Getty Images
I think we all knew on September 11, 2001 that our lives were changed
forever but I don't think any of us fathomed how deep the penetration
of violence would now be embedded in our culture. At first we all
banned together. We flew flags. We introduced ourselves to our
neighbors. We prayed for strangers. As time went on, however, we
locked our doors. We closed our shades. We tuned into CNN.
We drifted farther and farther away from our fellow Americans slowly becoming desensitized to Anthrax scares, heighten security alerts, and
images of war. Little did we know the score had just become 2 points Terrorist, 0 America. Americans were oblivious to the fact the terrorists had just turned our living
rooms into a battle field without using a gun. We were, however, acutely
aware of the media and our quest for justice. We watched the news
religiously. We spent money and resources to find whoever was
responsible because we thought killing the source of evil
would wash America clean and restore normality.
When I was a kid life certainly was not perfect. The country had a long
ways to grow in respect and support of equal rights for all Americans. I am proud to say I have seen that change in my lifetime. However, my school was never a war
zone. My yard was my utopia. And I spent more time interacting with my
neighbors and family than I did a video game. I felt loved by my
community. I felt safe. My teachers had the resources and support to nurture my
growth. I honestly remember being excited to say the Pledge Of Allegiance every morning. I would jump up and down waving my hand in hopes of the
teacher choosing me to lead it. There was support in our
community. People were not only willing to help foster the future of the
children but when something did happen, it happened to all of us, as
A simpler time with my mom as a child.
Now as mass shooting after mass shooting occurs we spend hours
debating on television as to where to point the finger. The
mother? The teacher? The law? Anything to deflect a sense of
responsibility as a community. As more places become unsafe for us to congregate and love one another we deny we are drifting away into a world
where we have abandoned our children and each other. We no longer need the terrorist to create terror, the seed was
planted and we watered it.
We find ourselves once again looking for one source of evil to pinpoint the
violent act on so we can wash ourselves clean and move on with our day.
Terrorist 3, America 0.
The Boston Marathon had thousands of charity runner participants. People much like myself who run to raise awareness and
money for diseases like Cancer. And a half a million people lined the
streets to cheer on all the runners. Many of the participants
were complete strangers to the supporters yet they cheered and yelled,
"You can do it!" They were selflessly supporting one another to show the younger generation and the world that love is limitless.
Yesterday, someone or some group tried to destroy that example of community. As we
see the injury and casuality reports, I know it seems impossible to
overcome the anger and not seek revenge. I want justice like we all do. But if we lose sight of our neighbor I believe we
are doing a disservice to every hero involved.
So what do we do? How do we turn such soar lemons into lemonade? It
won't be easy but we
could start by doing something different to really start fighting back. I say we turn off our TVs and ipads and instead find time to volunteer in our community.
If that is not possible, how about we just simply display a random
act of kindness to a stranger everyday this week. Introduce yourself to that neighbor you have never met or maybe have avoided
because you are "too" busy to talk. Let's promise not to forget, but let's also promise to not be
afraid. We can use this tragedy to get motivated to make a difference. What happened yesterday won't
destroy or shadow one of the greatest traditions in American culture--
the Bostonians are too strong for that... but it could inspire us to make more.
My friend Henri's cousins were among the victims severly injured in this tragedy. The family could use your help and support. Please click on this link to learn more and donate. http://www.gofundme.com/CelesteandSydney
An emergency responder and passerby tend to Sydney Corcoran, a Lowell High School student who was injured by shrapnel in Monday's bomb explosion at the Boston Marathon. (AP Photo/The Boston Globe, David L Ryan) Read more: