It’s days like this Monday that make us pause. Pause amidst the chaotic haze of our everyday lives; amongst the things that we find so important. Pause to re-evaluate what is really important.Terror-filled moments shaped our day on April 15th.
The horrible act of terror Monday led to a horribly immoral bombing and loss of life; leaving hundreds injured. Leaving families forever without their loved ones. All as a result of some senseless, horrid act of terror.
That’s the word that makes these events so imprinted in our brains; so etched within the corners of our minds. In a way, it’s one of the most tragic parts of the aftermath of these events. That some mindless, senseless maniac(s) is able to enstill fear in the general public — is able to disrupt our everyday lives and, for a period of time, our sense of safety and selves.
Sitting upstairs in the erg room of historic Weld Boathouse yesterday, the normally vivacious and chatty fifty-something members of the Harvard-Radcliffe crew team were almost silent. The normally bustling Charles river was empty. No boats. Nothing. Bridges closed. There was a sense of tragedy in the air. As our coaches came in, they began to talk to us about some of their experiences with tragedy. How even though through these crisises our most comfortable and immediate reaction may be to associate the upcoming moments – or subsequent days and weeks – with violence or terror, that the best way we can go against such acts of violence is to live. You can’t stop living. Or else they – those who value senseless acts of terror over the general good – win. They can’t win.
We will always remember. We will always respect. But in order to go against these acts of terror – to prove that we are more than senseless acts of violence, we need to prove that we can move on. Pick up the pieces, and come together and not let these acts of violence define our events, our cities, our our lives.
New York and the people of New York are more than the senseless acts of violence committed on 9/11.
Newtown and the people of Newtown are more than the senseless acts of violence committed in December.
Boston and the people of Boston are more than the senseless acts of violence committed Monday.
Boston is Fenway Park; it’s the Charles River. It’s friendly people who will never be able to say “Park the Car in Harvard Yard” without outsiders cracking a smile from their accent. It’s Boston Commons; Newbury Street on a Sunny Day. Memories made on college campuses.
This goes for the myriad other towns and individuals affected by acts of senseless violence, both domestically and internationally. But we have to remember this: humanity is not evil. This was proven yesterday amidst such hectic circumstances; heroes emerged from the dust. People ran towards the blast to save lives.
Moving forward, we have to keep what happens in our hearts. We can never forget. But I define New York by the memories I have made there in Times Square, at Patisse eating with my best friend, at Central Park, wandering the streets with friends on sunny days — not as a city filled with violence as a result of the events on 9/11. I define Newtown by the memories I have made there for eighteen years of my life visiting and exploring – running through the woods, family barbecues, 4th of July parties, and learning to love what I like to call my “second home” with my cousin Erin and other family members — not as a town plagued by gun violence. The same goes for Boston. In just a year living in this area, I have explored corners of the city — Newbury Street, Fenway, rowing on the Charles. It has become my home. And I know in my heart that it will recover.
If we can learn anything from yesterday, maybe it’s that there are still heroes amongst the haze.
There can be good. We just need to keep finding it. Keep pushing it. Keep remembering what happened — but keep making positive memories so that we can keep living.
Let’s make kindness what defines us. Not terror.