By: Connor Lenahan
I was sitting on my couch in my living room in Waverly, PA. I was joking around with my brothers after school, not a care in the world.
Then I got the update. I can’t remember if it was my Twitter feed or a text message, but I saw “Boston” and “Bombing” in the same sentence.
The laughs stopped.
I turned on coverage from every news network I could to get answers.
What happened? Are people okay? Is my family okay? Who did this? Why?
The first question was answered immediately. Two bombs had exploded near the finish line of the Boston Marathon. It sent the event, normally the greatest day of the year for Boston, into a panic. There were concerns about more bombs, more threats, more possible fatalities. People were scared. I was scared.
I frantically tried getting in contact with my aunts, uncles, and cousins that all lived in Boston. I didn’t know if they were anywhere near the marathon, but I needed to know they were okay. It brought relief when that afternoon every one was accounted for.
This relief was short lived when the dust settled, both literally and figuratively, at the finish line. Three dead. Two hundred sixty-four injured. Millions terrified.
In the coming days I and everyone I knew were glued to coverage of the ensuing manhunt to find the perpetrators. Video of the suspects was released. Shortly later came the identification of Tamerlan Tsarnaev and Dzhokhar Tsarnev as the men behind the attack. On April 18th, Tamerlan was killed in a firefight with the police. A day later, after locking down the entire city, Dzhokhar was apprehended and the fear of further attack was extinguished.
The memory of the bombing is something no one will ever forget. One of the brightest days for Boston had been darkened. Fear overcame a city that I was about to call home. It didn’t feel real. It couldn’t be real. Yet it was.
Yesterday I walked down to Boylston street, the home of the finish line and location of the bombing three hundred sixty-four days earlier. I looked at the newly painted finish line and the mass of bleachers occupying the sidewalk.
It took everything in me not to break down into tears when I got a glimpse of the finish line. The images of the 2013 marathon will forever be etched into my brain. The fear I felt, even hundreds of miles away, for my family, and for my city, will always be vivid. My pride in what followed the attack will never disappear.
It would have been easy to be rattled by these attacks. A holiday and event held sacred in Boston had been attacked.
Instead of cowering, Boston responded. The greatest policemen, firemen, and citizens in the world helped those in need. They searched the entirety of the city for the culprits to try and regain some sense of normalcy. Once the Tsarnaevs were taken care of, it was time to heal.
The community of Boston bound together and sent out a simple, powerful message to the world.
You are never going to stop Boston. Ever. This is a city that got knocked down but got up infinitely stronger than ever.
I’ve never been more sure in my life that I belong in Boston. An adage I live by, as given to me by my dad, is “it’s not what happens to you, but how you respond, that defines who you are.” My respect will forever go to those that have faced challenges yet refuse to allow said challenges to stop them. Anything is possible in this world. Need proof? Boston was marred by explosions that caused us to lose three of our own, Krystle Campbell, Martin Richard, and Boston University’s Lu Lingzi, and somehow came back stronger.
This city is my inspiration. If Boston can come back from this tragedy stronger than ever, than nothing should, can, or will stop me from getting back up when I get knocked down. This same thought runs true of every resident of the greatest city in the world.
This Monday we will run again. The Tsarnaevs didn’t think a couple of bombs were going to stop the marathon did they? A bomb wouldn’t stop Boston. Two bombs wouldn’t stop Boston. Nothing will stop Boston. Ever.
On Monday I’m going to be standing just a few feet away from where only a year earlier the bombings took place to watch my boss, mentor, and friend Dan Mercurio, a man I respect more than words will ever do justice, cross the finish line. At the same time, I, along with the millions that call Boston home will be pounding their chests repeating three words.
Didn’t stop us, never will. Long Live Boston. Long Live The Marathon. Never Forget 4/15/13.
Connor Lenahan (@ConnorLenahan) is a freshman at Boston University, majoring in journalism. He can be contacted at email@example.com