Sean Aherne ’14
Patriots’ Day in the greater Boston area is an experience unlike any other. There are re-enactments in Lexington and Concord, the Red Sox play an 11:00 AM matinee game, and for the last 117 years the city of Boston has cheered runners in the famed Boston Marathon. Monday afternoon, while streaming the marathon live on my computer, I saw something ghastly. While the details of the attack and the resulting deaths and injuries are still not fully known, one thing is clear, the city that I love and treasure and the marathon I have dreamed of running for as long as I can remember will never be the same.
My heart sank as I saw the explosions happen over and over again as CNN played it on a loop. It was so surreal, a double bombing at the Boston Marathon. It was an event that never even entered my worst nightmares. Boston is tough and resilient. We will stand strong. We will care for each other and we will come out of this a stronger community. As I scrolled through my twitter feed searching for more news on the attack, I came across a tweet that will never leave me: “Reports of Marathon Runners that crossed finish line and continued to run to Mass General Hospital to give blood to victims #PrayforBoston.” I felt an instant chill. In the immediate wake of arguably the city’s worst tragedy in its history, the true character of the city was coming out.
Enough cannot be said about the work of the first responders who rushed in to help the injured and dying without fear of personal harm. We are the 9/11 generation. Everything we say, see, do, or experience is viewed view the lens of having experienced that unspeakable tragedy. With the acknowledgement of this lens, I must say that the first responders in Boston on Monday were spectacular. At an interfaith prayer service in Boston honoring the first responders and victims, President Barack Obama said it best, “We may be momentarily knocked off our feet, but we will pick ourselves up. We will keep going. We will finish the race.”
In a world with a 24 hour news cycle, the press can impede an efficient, effect, and fruitful investigation. Despite a few instances of the press over stepping its bounds, overall the police and press worked well to keep the public informed, find both suspects, and not compromise either responsibility. Never in our country’s history has a city been shut down in the way that Boston was on Friday. However, it was imperative that every resident of Boston, Watertown, and other area cities and towns stay safe. Residents did follow the orders of government leaders, enabling police and federal authorities to the final suspect almost a full day after the first suspect was killed. The second suspect, now in custody, is receiving medical treatment. He is being questioned without being read his Miranda rights because the justice department is evoking the public safety exception. Whatever one’s views on this loophole may be, for now, we must trust in our justice system.
I will make one promise: I will run the Boston Marathon next year not for any selfish reason, but rather to honor those who tried to run this race and were robbed of that opportunity, especially those tragically robbed of life, limb, or family members.
Sean is the PC Student Congress President-elect, an avid runner, a perennial Boston Marathon fan, and a native of the greater Boston area.