I’ve been thinking a lot about the Boston Marathon tragedy lately, as I’m sure we all have. There are so many questions still unanswered, and there’s so little we really know for certain. But one undeniable fact is that whoever is responsible for those explosions made sure that the whole world watched. They deliberately chose a location teeming with cameras and reporters, even though it was close enough to the medical tent that many lives were saved. This was truly an act of terror, meant to make us feel afraid and unsafe in our own homes. And it is right that we should be frightened and angry and emotional.
Boston is fighting back, though. We know that if we live in fear, those responsible for this horrific violence have succeeded. But if we stand up together, united against the forces of evil that want so badly to drive us apart, we defeat them with our strength and resilience. We defeat them with the knowledge that the spirit of our beloved city cannot be broken.
Marathon Monday is a celebration of the amazing potential for greatness possessed by every single human being in the world. People travel hundreds of thousands of miles to display incredible physical strength and emotional willpower, while crowds gather to support and encourage complete strangers. And even in the midst of tragedy, this marathon continued the tradition. First responders, as well as concerned bystanders, showed selfless courage and kindness as they carried the wounded to safety. Enough blood was donated that very day to last every victim through the night. Even some Californians started a thread on Reddit offering to buy pizza for anyone hosting displaced Boston residents.
It is at times like these when I believe, without a doubt, in the benevolent nature of humanity. Yes, there will always be people whose motives are inherently evil, and who continue to astound us with their complete disregard for human life. But when even their most despicable actions do not discourage others from acting with unselfish love, I find myself marveling once again at the human capacity for good.
We can’t let them win, but I don’t really think we ever will. Boston is resilient. People are resilient. We will not live in fear, but in love. We will continue to care for each other and our city, and the marathon will go on year after year as a celebration of good in the face of evil. Those who lost their lives and limbs will be honored – and never forgotten.
It has long been a dream of mine to run a marathon, and even now I cannot think of a better place to achieve that goal than Boston, my home. Someday I will participate in this long-standing tradition of greatness, and I will cross the finish line in honor of those who no longer can. I will not live in fear, I will live in spite of fear. And they won’t win. We will.