Two days ago, I woke up and opened Facebook and immediately noticed my friends’ posts about Boston. The posts weren’t specific but I knew something had happened. It didn’t take long to discover that someone had set off bombs near the finish line of the Boston Marathon.
Before I keep going, forgive me in advance for getting long-winded. For those of you that read all the way to the end… Thank you.
My first reaction was something along the lines of, “Crap, here we go again.” I tried to gather as many facts as I could, but the details were still fairly thin. I saw a few of the photos. One reporter’s raw comment caught my eye… he referred to the flags that lined the course near the finish line. I headed to work, knowing that the rest of the day was going to be pretty somber. My colleagues and I shared what we had read or seen on the internet, still not much more than numbers of dead and wounded and the fact that no one had claimed responsibility. Interestingly, one of the groups that we are fighting here in Afghanistan made a point of stating that they were not responsible, but do support attacks on America and her allies. Thanks for the clarification….
Later in the day, I headed to the gym to run on the treadmill and that’s when I saw the videos that had started circulating. By this point, I knew that more than 100 had been injured, many with “traumatic amputations,” which seems too nice of a way of describing something quite horrific. I also knew that one of the three that died was an 8-year-old boy, the same age as my oldest. As I was running and watching the video clips of the explosion, the immediate chaos, and the actions of the first responders, that’s when a couple of thoughts and emotions hit me.
The victims – runners and their supporters – everyday people celebrating triumph and great accomplishment through sport – experienced the same sort of invisible, anonymous and cowardly attack that people in dozens of nations around the world have experienced way too often these past dozen years. That’s when I thought back to the reporter’s comments about the flags. In the pictures and videos, I could clearly recognize the national flags of some of my mates that I have served with here in Afghanistan for the past 10 months. The collection of flags still flying after the attacks seemed to focus my thoughts. Those flags clearly represent that the whole world is in this together. Whoever the attackers think they were targeting, the reality is that by attacking the Boston Marathon, they were attacking the whole world.
I have included a picture collage with this post. I collected most of the images from the web. One I took myself. My apologies to the photographers for not knowing who to credit them to. I wanted to use these pictures to show that some of our most notable endeavors and accomplishments are due to the efforts of people from around the globe. Two of the pics are from the attack. Two are from last summer’s London Olympics. The International Space Station logo clearly represents the contributions of many nations. The middle pic is a scene that I see every day in Kabul. America, we are not in this alone. Responding to this attack will involve the whole world.
Many of my FB friends have posted their own thoughts, most not nearly as long-winded as mine. One in particular I would like to highlight. My friend Shellie wrote, “This just makes me want to go into hiding with my family…but then they win. Continue to be good and kind and make the world a better place…then we win.” Thanks Shellie… so true.
So this leads me to where I think I’m headed with this. I think I can already see the beginnings of what could be a silver lining rising out of the sorrow and tragedy of the attack. I like to run. I’m no marathoner, so my short 2.62 miles on the treadmill yesterday seemed like a really small, yet immediate tribute. I know a few runners, and their spirit and comaraderie is beginning to spread in support of the victims of the Boston Marathon. Search for the hashtags #GoRun or #RunForBoston through any social media app and you will find examples of runners doing their part to counter the cowardly act of the attackers. Not everyone can be a runner, but for those that can, I simply use these thoughts to encourage you to support the victims of the Boston Marathon bombing by doing what they were doing. #GoRun