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I had just returned from France....


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I had just returned from France the day before and due to the jet-lag I had just woken up. My mom called me downstairs asking to see the pictures I had posted to facebook from my trip. I stood behind my mom as she scrolled through her news feed to look for the pictures and as she kept scrolling, I noticed something strange on her news feed. I told her to stop and scroll up, and there it was. “Bombs go off at the Boston Marathon Finish line”. My mom grabbed the remote and turned on the TV above her and immediately turned on the news. We then moved to the couch behind us and sat there, our jaws dropping and wide eyed to what was going on only a little more than 5 miles from us.

Boylston St. A street that I walk all the time with my friends. A street that’s usually full of business people talking a break from the office, young students going the Boston public library, shopaholics maxing out their credit cards at the Prudential center, tourists trying to find their way around or getting a little taste of Boston, a street usually filled with Bostonians and harmony was now filled with terror. I immediately reached out to my friends who live near there, my sister and brother-in-law who work in Boston, and anyone who might have gone to see the marathon. Thankfully they were all safe. Although I did not go this year, and I was not directly connected with the events on that scary tragic day, I have so many indirect connections with the events, the bombers, and the people who were affected by it.

I am a Bostonian. A lot of my friends were at the race. Some were even fairly close to the finish line. After a few hours of my eyes being glued to the TV, and seeing Jeff Bauman’s legs blown off a million of times, I decided I couldn’t watch it anymore. I went on facebook and I saw two things for the rest of the week; people being reflective and apologetic about the bombings, or people complaining about those being reflective and apologetic about the bombings. It made me really irritated to see so many people being so cold-hearted after our home had been attacked. Some people were fighting with each other in the comments on a particular status about the situation and it made me sad to see that people were fighting about petty things when three people had lost their lives and hundreds of others were scarred emotionally and physically. One person in particular posted on April 16th, “I can’t stand coming facebook and seeing everyone posting about the bombing, let’s move on already, stop posting about it.” It hurt to see something like that happen, especially in such a time of loss and mourning for Boston.

A lot of my friends from Brazil and France were all messaging me “are you ok?”. They were so scared for me and all of their other friends in Boston. They spent the majority of the week talking to us and checking in with us to make sure we were safe. I think I would have felt better if I stayed in France for another week. It was a scary time, especially when the bombers’ identities were revealed and it turned out they lived almost down the street from me.

When tragedy strikes like the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary school, or the shooting in the movie theater in Aurora, Colorado, we watch it on the news, we feel bad for all those affected by it, but when it happens to your home, it really “hits home”. I was in shock; I could not believe was going on in my hometown. I walk those streets all the time and I would never feel threatened in the least, and now those streets are closed down and are now a “federal crime scene”. When the victims’ names were released, everyone’s hearts fell for Martin Richards. One of my friends used to babysit for Martin Richards. She was even on CNN to talk about how great of a kid he was. Even Krystle Campebell from Medford, a town over from me, all of my friends from Medford seemed to know who she was, she even lived on my friend’s street only two doors away. The bombers lived and went to school in Cambridge, again another town over from me. Cambridge Rindge and Latin was a school I found myself at a lot, especially to see their amazing drama club performances. What’s even more surreal is that I know people who went to school with the younger brother. One of my best guy friends used to wrestle for Minuteman Technical High School, and he even wrestled (and won) against Dzhokar Tsarnaev. My sister used to work on the street that the Tsarnaev’s lived on.

My friends were in central square the night of the firefight with police. They called me after to see if they could stay at my house for a while because I lived so close. When they got to my house they told me they heard gunshots and saw tons of police cars within minutes. At that time we had no clue that it was the Tsarnaevs, we just thought it was another Cambridge shooting or crime. The MIT officer that was killed, Sean Collier was the best friend of a police officer that is my neighbor. He told me that he was supposed to go out to dinner with him in a few days because it was his birthday soon. The MIT officer lived around the corner from me and his friend. When you drive by his house there is a banner on it that says “the Collier family thanks you for your support”.

I think although it did not affect me personally, it affected me because this all happened in my home. Everything happened in my backyard. The shootout in Watertown, the shooting of Sean Collier, the actual bombings, the creation of the bombs, they all happened within a 5 mile radius of me. It was scary and sobering to realize that it really is crazy world out there. I remember being on lockdown. I sat in my living room watching TV, listening to my dad’s police scanner, practically mesmerized by all the bits of information I was getting. Although the state could not technically keep us in our houses because it is a denial of our freedom, not one person tested it. Everyone stayed in and let the police do their jobs. I remember hearing the police radio, before the news even reported it, “We got him!”. Hearing those three words was such a great feeling, knowing that all of the efforts that were put into this and all the sleepless nights for the police officers were finally over, and Boston was safe again. One of my friends said to me “Only in Boston would we shut down the entire state just to find two people. You do not mess with Boston”. That pretty much became a motto here, “You do not mess with Boston.” “Boston Strong” was not created as some random catchphrase to boost morale. It was created because Boston truly is a strong city


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