The tenth anniversary of the Boston Marathon Bombing is upon us and it serves as a somber note as the warm weather rolls in. However, despite the heartbreaking effects of this terrorist attack, from deaths to injuries to trauma, it can also be regarded as a uniting force. Even as we mourn, we can look to the glimmers of hope. And this is made all the more clear when observing the perspectives on the bombing across age ranges.
On April 15, 2013, the Tsarnaev brothers, Dzokhar and Tamerlan, set off pressure cooker bombs near the finish line of the Boston Marathon. Though they killed and injured many people, the brothers were able to escape, setting off a manhunt that shut down areas such as Watertown.
Sam Gordon, a senior who captains the John D. O’Bryant High School cross country — track, and field teams, was eight at the time and vaguely recalls his experience with the Marathon bombing.
“There was a manhunt throughout the whole city, lockdowns, that sort of stuff. I remember when I was a kid just being holed up in my parents’ basement. I didn’t have a clue what was going on, I just knew that my mom wanted the TV on.” As he got older, he learned more about what had actually happened, but despite the bombing’s horrific nature, what struck him most was how people reacted to it. “There was just a huge outpouring of support, you know, with the Boston Strong movement. […] I think it galvanized people in an inverse reaction almost. The attack was to sow fear, to sow division, but the end reaction was a communal coming together.”
And Gordon is not alone in this recognition of the aftereffects of the Boston Marathon Bombing. Grant Welker is currently a reporter for the Boston Business Journal and has both a personal and professional relationship with these events. “I think that there was that sense, in the initial days especially but in the weeks and months and years that followed, […] of unity in the community. The marathon, which was already world-famous, gained this sense of community pride. […] Something so horrific happened that year yet we still hold the marathon, we still have the same finish line, people still show up in droves to see it. I think that’s really powerful.”
After completing these interviews, what really strikes me is the sentiment of unity that both of them express. The fact that they can both recognize the silver lining of such horrific events across a twenty-year age gap is in itself that silver lining. And in the words of Welker himself, “We’re all on the side of caring about one another, wanting each other to be safe, wanting the freedom to be able to go out to eat, to watch a marathon, to go shopping, or just walk around Back Bay.” We can recognize that the Boston Marathon Bombing was a horrible terrorist attack that should never happen again, but we can also recognize this beautiful side of humanity that it has brought out, even ten years later. That is why it’s all the more important to remember both it and the community that has been created. We are Boston and we are strong.