Last Monday began like any other day the thousands who descended upon the City on a Hill, Boston, to celebrate Patriots’ Day and the 117th running of the Boston Marathon. Little did we know that at 2:50 p.m. EST, our world would change forever as Boston, the city of my birth, would be turned on its head by two brothers in a terrorist attack.
For four days Bostonians, as well as countless Americans outside of Boston, clung to our televisions, demanding retribution, shedding a lot of tears and just shaking our heads as the answers we yearned for where just not there.
I heard several people say, “It’s some right-wing nut,” or “I hope it isn’t a white guy as I can’t understand why one of ours would attack us,” and, of course, “It’s some damn Muslim.”
To me, I honestly didn’t care. The victims’ families who had to deal with the grief of losing a loved one and the men and women who endured injuries, disfigurement, and the loss of limbs, damn sure didn’t care if the guilty parties were black, white, green or purple — ALL WE WANTED WAS JUSTICE.
And then it happened — a break in the case Thursday night as Dzhokhar Tsarnaev and his brother Tamerlan Tsarnaev, the two terrorists who paralyzed Boston and its suburbs were engaged in a gunfight with police during which M.I.T. police officer Sean Collier was killed.
My wife woke me up at 4 a.m. Friday night when news started to surface on the networks. “I thought you’d want to see this,” she said to me as I tried to wipe the sleep from my eyes and rolled over. That was an understatement. I needed to see who in the hell bombed my hometown and I wanted to make sure I watched them get what they had coming to them. Then news started to surface that Tamerlan Tsarnaev was dead. I have to admit, I had mixed feelings. On one hand, in my humble opinion, he got what he deserved. I know that probably sounds harsh, but it’s the only emotion that was generated.
As for Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, we learned that he was probably wounded and police set up a scene that can only be described as movie-like — shutting Boston and its suburbs down, going door to door with assault weapons drawn. My uncle was paid a visit by the FBI and other officers as he lives close to the bombing scene.
As I watched it all unfold I heard the arguments — the terrorists had won as they scared Boston residents into their homes and you couldn’t find a soul on the streets. I’ll say the same thing today as I said then (except clean it up a bit because this is a family blog)… “That’s a bunch of crap.” Boston and its people were not scared, they just weren’t going to get in the way of the police who had promised to bring the terrorists to justice.
As expected I was a roller coaster of emotions Friday – speaking with my uncle, following Twitter feeds from journalists and the police out of Boston and then asking myself, “How in the hell did they loose him?” when it became apparent that Dzhokhar Tsarnaev had slipped out from under the police department’s thumb. Honestly, I thought he had made his way somewhere and died from blood loss, and it would only be a matter of time before authorities located the body. Turns out, that was halfway accurate — Dzhokhar Tsarnaev had lost quite a bit of blood and was holed up in a boat on a property that everyone in the world now is aware of.
As the scene began to unfold I, again, was met with a roller coaster of emotions — did I want one of the cops to kill him or did I want him to survive and be taken into custody so we could get some answers? Three days after his arrest I feel the same way and honestly believe that we’ll never know why they did it and what exactly their next plan was. I’ll admit that I began to cry when the cheering broke out on television. I also cried Saturday when I watched the pregame festivities at Fenway Park for the Boston Red Sox.
To a degree it felt like justice was going to be served and my hometown was beginning to regain a sense of normalcy. Now what will happen in the future is anyone’s guess. I spent some time this weekend wondering what liberties we will have to surrender to attend sporting events in the future. The heavy police presence at the Race for the Cure and the Carmel Marathon should have been an indicator that we no longer live in a “normal” world. I shudder to think what will happen when I attend the Indianapolis 500 in May. What kind of police protection/security measures will have to be taken?
But, much like after Sept. 11 we’ll grin and bear it for a while and then we’ll slip back into our “comfort zones.” And much like Sept. 11, days like last Monday will eventually be something we think and talk about only once in a while despite the fact that they are constant reminders of the America we now live in.
As for me and many in my hometown, we will never forget. We’ll continue to live our lives without fear of terrorists. Perhaps, we’ll hug our loved ones a little tighter and speak a little softer. But we’ll be as strong today as we were Monday morning.
Afterall, we are BOSTONSTRONG.