gratitude-a-thon day 354: remembering this day a year ago today


It was today. A year ago today. When crazy broke loose and people’s lives were lost and changed in the  time it takes to buy a Charlie card. It was today, just 365 days ago when this city went haywire and psychological mayhem dominated. It was today. When for a week we glued ourselves to the news, trying to put unwieldy puzzle pieces together to figure out what went wrong, how it could go wrong, so wrong at the Boston Marathon.

Three people died that day, one year ago today. A college student named Lu Lingzi, a restaurant manager named Krystal Campbell, and a little boy of eight named Martin Richard. They died because they were at the finish line of a sporting event we love here in Boston, and you know how we love our sporting events. That’s what killed them, getting a sought after position at the finish line, who doesnt want to stand right there and watch the end of 26.2? Oh, and the two brothers. Actually, that’s what killed them. Two brothers who filled a couple of backpacks with explosives. I don’t know why. Does anybody know why? Has anybody figured out yet, why those brothers did what they did that day, a year ago today? Boylston Street turned into a smokey battlefield, and people into soldiers, who began to run, not to cross the finish line, but  toward this atrocity, toward people who had lost their legs and their loved ones and maybe worst of all (no, not worst of all, but as bad as any of it) the innocence they were born with.

Everybody changed that day. Everything changed. And in the year it’s been since that day, one year ago today, things have also gotten better, people have grown stronger, and a city has climbed up out of the ashes to the chant, “Boston Strong.” Maybe some would even say Boston Stronger.

But while we may have recovered from the initial blow, let’s not kid ourselves into thinking things will ever be the same. Those people who lost lives, like Sean Collier, an M.I.T. police officer who was killed in the line of duty, those people who have had to endure endless surgeries and rehabilitation, who have had to learn to walk on legs not made of flesh, just because they got some great real estate on marathon day, will not ever be quite the same, and neither will any of us who know their stories. Because this shouldn’t have happened. This should never be a day we mark, because of what happened a year ago, on this day, a year ago today.

But the thing is, the beautiful thing is, the survivors have endured. They’ve done more than endure in fact, they’ve show us the kind of kick-ass courage we all hope we’d have in the same situation. Those people who were injured, lives indelibly changed have shown us that there is only one way to go forward, on metal limbs or real ones, one step at at time.

And so we do. We do go forward, as a city, who remembers this day, one year ago today. A city who remembers, who will always remember, where we were, what was lost and what was gained. Take time today to remember.

As if any one of us could ever forget.





5 thoughts on “gratitude-a-thon day 354: remembering this day a year ago today

  1. I don’t want to comment publicly on FB — not because I haven’t cried (like this morning at the gym, watching the solemn-faced Henry Richard and his sister) – but because for some reason, today this is all starting to feel slightly exploitative. And that’s a shame because today IS the day we should all have our collective cry for those injured and lost. But the endless lead-up in the papers – each trying to out-do one another to see who could get a survivor story has left me feeling worse for our city, not better. Maybe it’s the cumulative effect of the recent funeral for the firefighters one on top of another and now again today the bagpipes are playing — it’s all just a bit too much. Right after this happened, Martin Richard’s father published what i thought was the most perfect (yes i just modified the word perfect – editor alert!) – letter in the Globe. I wish the Globe would have just reprinted that today – and let it be….let them all be….I think the surviving son must be dealing with survivors guilt – he looked stricken this morning.

    It’s like a car accident – I can’t quite look away, even while saying this to you – I’m sure I’ll turn the TV on at noon and I’m sure i’ll cry again. Martin Richard’s face I am sure haunts everyone.


    1. yes. i know. i get it. and at the same time, we have to mark it. we have to make a hoopla because IT HAPPENED. those people were real with all the big hopes and lofty dreams we all have and now they’re not here. and they deserve to be remembered for what they were and what they’ll never be. i know. i agree with you and yet, i still don’t want us to forget them, and so i just skip the articles that feel exploitive, and pick and choose. but i want to remember. because it’s important to every person who was directly and dramatically effected not to let their experience be lost. xoxooxoxox

    2. i know, i get it. and yet….. it is everywhere this week and i imagine it will continue to be. is it too much? maybe. but for me, i want to remember the people who lost their lives and the others who lost their normal way of living. i want to know that if it were my child who died watching the marathon, in such a tragic way, that someone would stop the world and remember that he had all the same kinds of big hopes and lofty dreams we all have that will never materialize.i would want people to know who he was and who he would never become. i would want people to remember. that’s why the center of my chest feels uneasy today and why i wrote about remembering. because it happened. those people happened and their lives, every bit as important as ours were permanently changed. and i want to remember that that’s how fragile this whole circus is. and that those people were important enough to remember. xoxoxoxo

  2. Agree completely and I think my issue has more to do with the media –

    I am highly suspicious of the media’s motives –

    I remember exactly where I was last year — college visits w/Stefan. We were driving to Philly — and my guy kept frantically texting me and I was annoyed cause I was driving and couldn’t text back. As soon as we heard, like everyone else – we were glued to the TV (there’s the media doing a good job) –

    And similar to 9/11 and everyone becoming New Yorkers — that day the Nation became Bostonians…there is barely a person around who doesn’t feel come connection to the marathon –

    And I just saw on FB that there was a pipe bomb found at South Station just now – and the police detonated it! Fucking detonated! There are some fucked up people out there…

    anyway – I’ll continue to be weepy all day —

    hope you are feeling better (though crying when you are sick totally sucks!)


    1. it’s just all sad, sad, sad. pipe bomb? REALLY? ugh. feeling sicker. thanks for sharing all your feelings, joc. they are always heart felt and on the mark. sending you a hug on this soggy day. xo

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