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.