When the Boston Marathon bombing happened on April 15, 2013, I was contently slurping pho while more than 20 thousand east coast residents revved themselves up for the 26.2 mile Boston Marathon. The event, held on Patriots’ Day, attracts an average of 500 thousand spectators and supporters annually.
The event began at 9 a.m. EDT with a silent tribute by race officials to victims of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting.
The wheelchair race takes off, and elite women and top men take lead in the marathon. By 11:58 a.m., a Kenyan woman is the first to break the finish tape. Less than two hours after the rest of the winners toppled over the finish line, chaos broke lose in a detrimental atomic chain reaction.
The news stream of the event was second from instantaneous; while still in the restaurant I heard from a family member in Massachusetts that the marathon site had been bombed.
My own heart started racing. Just an hour or so prior, I was looking at an email attachment photo of my great aunt preparing for the marathon, holding her past race metals. My soul sank. I went home to sink myself in front of the T.V. and lower my laptop onto my knees. I waited for news of who the two fatalities were. Two became three, and stories of victims exponentially revealed themselves.
Such a small fraction of the weight that made that day was lifted off my own shoulders when I found out my own family was safe, all shaken up from the event.
One of the three fatalities was as an 8 year old boy, Martin Richard. Richard’s mother suffered from severe brain damage and upper body injury, and his sister lost one of her legs. The victims’ stories are heart-wrenching. A day of patriotism and congratulation, without a moment’s notice, was turned into an explosive hell, a surreal atmosphere fogged with disbelief and uncertainty.
There were medics, police, officials, investigators and knowledgeable citizens on the scene. They were scrambling through puffs of smoke and outbursts of panic on a blood smeared concrete ground. Who, they questioned, did this?
There are suspects held under close observation for interrogation and investigation. Professionals and blog and 4chan detectives alike are presenting lead after lead.
Whose black backpack was that, we wonder; what was their motive, we inquire? Was this event related to our most recently received international threats, or did the bomber act as a result of religious tension?
Our nation remains at a state of unrest and unease as we anticipate findings and conclusions, and grieve the unsettling possibility that this was not the end of our terror.