I know Boston and the Boston Marathon well. I lived for 20 years in Needham and Wellesley, the western suburbs of Boston, the halfway mark of the 26-mile race, from where I have watched the marathon in route. Many times I picnicked at Hopkinton State Park near where the marathon starts, and many times I walked on Boylston Street where the bombs exploded and the marathon ended.
For a native of Boston, a lifelong fan of the Red Sox, the Celtics and the Patriots, the bomb attack shattered decades of pleasant memories of Boston in a painful tragic moment. Now and for years to come when I will think about Hopkinton, Boylston Street, and the Boston Marathon, I will not recall my last visits there with family and friends but I will recall the international flags hoisted, white smoke ballooning, cops and emergency workers confused in a mayhem around bloody victims and panicked fans. Amazing how a few tragic seconds can wipe out decades of pleasant memories.
When I heard the news, I knew this sinking, sickening feeling. I had felt it before. It was after 9/11/01 in New York. It was after 11/26/08 in Mumbai: Synchronized attacks in a populated area designed to kill and maim maximum number of people. Now I will add Boston 4/15/13 to those dates. It is terrifying to see how brutal and ruthless humans can be at their worst.
The answers to who, what, and why re still days away -- but now is a time to grieve in this moment of terror. It is a time to be in the moment, to sympathize with Bostonians, to empathize with those who are injured, and to be compassionate to the families of the dead.
At this moment, while I feel the grief, I also feel relief. My daughter, my parents, my brother and his family all of who life in Boston are safe, as is my cousin who lives a block away from Boylston Street.