“I tear my heart open, I sew myself shut. My weakness is, that I care too much. And my scars remind me that the past is real. I tear my heart open, just to feel.” – Papa Roach
The Boston Marathon bombing has had a profound effect on people with ties to the incredibly proud city, and Americans as a whole. While there have been plenty of senseless tragedies since 9/11, this is the first time that there has been a terrorist attack on U.S. soil since 2001. Each tragedy creates an emotional wound that leaves a scar on the hearts and minds of those who felt the pain of loss, directly or indirectly. Time inevitably erodes the sharp pain of tragedy and loss, but the emotional wounds never truly go away.
Every victim of the attack that occurred on Patriot Day in Boston deserves the collective support and sympathy of society, but some stories hit closer to home. In this case, it is the story of 8-yr old Martin Richard, an innocent child whose life was taken by the cowardly act of terrorists as he stood near the finish line with his family. It was originally reported that he was there cheering his father on, but that turned out to be misinformation. Martin’s father, Bill, is a runner, but he was not running in this year’s marathon. The family was actually there supporting friends who were running in the marathon.
The day was particularly tragic for the Richard family. Martin’s 6-yr old sister lost her leg in the explosion, and likely would have lost her life as well if not for the heroic efforts of first- responders. His mother suffered a brain injury and remains hospitalized.
This year’s Boston Marathon had special significance because it honored the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting victims with a mile marker on Mile 26 that featured the city seal and 26 stars, one for each victim. There was a 26-second moment of silence to remember the innocent victims. A group of Newtown, CT parents took part in the race. The family members of the victims of Sandy Hook had VIP seats in close proximity to the first explosion. Thankfully, none of them were hurt because the runners that they were there to support had all completed the race prior to the bomb going off.
It’s been four months since the Sandy Hook tragedy, and it is still on my mind constantly, as my daughter is the same age as the children who perished. I watch her laugh, play, sing and dance. I smile at her, but often times, I find myself sad and angry that someone could do harm to that kind of pure innocence. My world was changed on that day, and I doubt that it will ever be the same again. The scars run too deep.
The Boston Marathon bombing has brought scars from the past to the forefront as well. Long before my daughter was born, I experienced 9/11 firsthand (read “My 9/11 Experience” for a detailed account of that tragic day). The scars of 9/11 would have been bad enough on their own, but it was compounded for me as I lost my father to a tragic accident less than two months before the attack. The fact that he and the 8-yr old boy who lost his life yesterday share the same first name has added to the pain that I feel today.
In 2001, my view of the world was forever changed. The innocence that was lost will never return. Each tragic event “tears my heart open…and my scars remind me that the past is real.” Thoughts and prayers go out to the victims of the Boston Marathon whose lives will never be the same going forward.