“The full emotional impact of an atrocity such as the Marathon bombing is only beginning to take hold. I know that for me, when disaster strikes, there’s usually a numbing disbelief. Then as the facts of the situation become clear there’s a rush of fear, anger, sadness, then grief. Grief not only for the victims of this random act but also for our city. You see this day has always been special to the heart and soul of Bostonians not only for its famous marathon but for the day we mark in history as the beginning of the colonies’ fight to rid themselves of British tyranny. It’s ironic that 238 years later the echoes of that “shot heard round the world” made famous in Longfellow’s “Paul Revere’s Ride” devastated all of us when an act of horrific violence harbored a new form of tyranny – terrorism. ... The tyranny of terrorism may have no identified nation, or ideology behind it other than to cause a wave of devastation and leave only anguish and fear in its wake.
We who live and work in Dorchester once again will grieve the loss of one of its children, Martin Richard, the eight-year-old resident of Carruth Street who minutes before the blast was cheering the runners at the finish line. Each and every one of us is affected when we see the most innocent – the Martin Richards, the Louis D. Browns – become victims of random violence, struck down before their lives have barely begun. This tyranny deepens our resolve to do whatever is in our power to do to never let another human being, let alone another child, die to violence on our watch. ...
Over the next several weeks we may get answers to the many questions surrounding this tragic event in our city as we move past the worst of our grieving, but one thing will always ring true: Our community, and our city, will never be quite the same, and the marking of Patriot’s Day will have a very different context from now on. ... I, for one, say that despite our worst fears, we have been given the chance once again to extend our compassion to those in need and to strengthen our resolve to move forward for our patients, our community, and, in this a dark hour, our city.
Sal Molica, MD
“I remember the first Boston Marathon I attended after moving to the Mile 20 area. I thought it would be no big deal to watch the runners. Instead I watched in awe, holding back tears.
“I met a woman who had recently emigrated from China, and we smiled and gestured to our young babies, and she gave me her bell to ring to cheer the runners on. Connections made, the world felt right.
“I remember the first half-marathon I ran, what it meant to me, a goal of mine accomplished jubilantly. Running – the rhythmic pounding of the pavement – brings me peace, time for contemplation. And I remember the love I felt for my husband, two young daughters, and friends who came to cheer me on.
“And now, just a few days after the horrific events at the Marathon, I remember the moment we told our daughters what had happened, knowing that this would be yet one more event further shattering the innocence of childhood. Our eight-year-old daughter, resilient and curious, tried to cheer up her sister. Our eleven-year-old cried, scared, trying to understand. Curling up in a ball on the couch, she hugged me tightly.
“I remember learning that an eight-year- old boy from Dorchester was killed. I have an eight-year-old child. I work in Dorchester. So close to home, painfully so.
“I remember going to work on Tuesday, listening to everyone’s stories, both patients and staff. I cared for patients who were a bit more vulnerable than they had been on Sunday.
“I remember the comfort of friends and family calling from near and far, and the hugs exchanged with those around me.
“I remember telling my children we will protect them the best we can, that there are bad guys out there, but there are more good guys than bad guys.
“And I remember telling them that the biggest act of defiance is to live and remember.”
Pam Adelstein, MD