Thoughts that hover around me today — are when “an attack” becomes personal. When they — whoever they are — attack your home town, purposely and with vengeance. Something that means a lot or something very typical, something we often take for granted, something they — who ever they are — fear or despise along with no conscience.
After the Boston Marathon bombings, heard from folks that had been absent from my life for 10, 20, and even 30 years. There is a little mental list I keep. And I let them know I wasn’t there on Boylston Street, and I had been across the river. On a belated celebration of my birthday, my friend and I went to see this indie movie and about an Australian singing group during the Vietnam War, and at one point there was a scene of their show turning into all running and explosions. Remember saying to my friend: “My goodness this sound system — feels like the building is shaking.”
And of course it was, from the bombs going off across the river, but we had no idea until the film ended and went to a nearby restaurant. Wasn’t until the trial and the release of the milk and cookies run to Whole Food Market video with the time stamp — realized how close our paths crossed via local traffic in driving back to my friend’s apartment. As simply as that — it becomes personal.
Every time I walk up Boylston Street, I think of that innocent little boy and the women that died there, and the many others that left there without their arms and legs. All because they were out on a beautiful day, running or watching a race, a time honored tradition, in one of the most beloved parts of our city. As simply as that — it becomes personal.
And I remember all the photos and videos of all of those brave people at the marathon running toward the explosions. Frantic pulling down clothes off racks for tourniquets, random folks in line at our hospitals to give blood. To note with the bombers still at large at that point, everyone went to work that next day, by public transportation: bus, subway and commuter trains from all diverse neighborhoods — having no idea if another attack was imminent. Everyone stood up and pushed back. As simply as that — it becomes personal.
Later that same week — the firefight in Watertown, MA and the subsequent lock down. A dear friend called me from Brooklyn and said: “What the hell is going on up there?” Which was a good question. Told him I did not know but whatever it was — obviously coming his way since they had just announced shutting down the Amtrak train to New York City. As simply as that — it becomes personal.
After it all happened, realized how small my city really is and my belief in the theory of six degrees of separation became firmly rooted. Years later our city continues on watchful and mindful amid the unspoken personal contracts during our daily commutes. As simply as that — it becomes personal.
Today, my thoughts are with those who perished on June 3, 2017. To all the people in London trying to identify people missing or wounded. The emergency services personnel including police, ambulance workers who train and train to deal with these unspeakable acts. Regular citizens who took to social media and offered shelter in their homes, or who were locked out of their homes because of this violence. All those in Manchester and London — who will never feel the same about London Bridge, that particular concert hall, tube station, or about those certain streets and pubs, that have experienced all this violence. As simply as that — it becomes personal.