After yesterday’s horrifying attacks at the Boston Marathon, which at this point have killed three and injured hundreds, many have come out speaking of the city’s strength and the people’s solidarity and resolve. You picked the wrong city to mess with, you don’t fuck with Boston, etc. But as badass and strong as the city is, a fact I know well after spending four years at Boston University, all I could think when I watched yesterday’s tragic events unfold was – I want to protect it.
“Boston is innocent!” my friend Nina exclaimed on Gchat, as we lamented what happened to this beautiful city we love. Sure, Boston is tough. But, in my mind, the city also holds a certain innocence – the unvarnished purity of a place where things begin, where great minds are molded, where youth is king. This fact unfortunately epitomized by the death of an 8-year-old boy who was watching his father run the marathon. His 6-year-old sister lost a leg and his mother is in critical condition. Another victim was a 29-year-old graduate student from Boston University.
In the summertime, the city of Boston gets quiet when all of the students have gone home for summer break. The streets devoid of voices, of cheerful laughter, of drunken debauchery – it is nearly unrecognizable. The Boston Marathon is the complete antithesis of that. My sophomore year of college at Boston University, I naively thought I would stay at home to study during the marathon. This lasted about an hour. At the time, I lived just a few blocks from Beacon Street, where where runners usually pass in the afternoon. The was no way I was going to study amid all that revelry. I didn’t have any such delusions by the time by senior year of college rolled around. It was my last chance to participate in this juvenile bacchanalia and I took it very seriously. I even dressed the part – athletic clothes and a bright yellow sweatband. My friends and I ran jubilantly along the sidelines of the marathon, cheering runners on, taking photos with policemen, hugging, kissing, laughing.
Boston is the city where I came of age, but where I also learned to stay young. It is forever cemented in my memory as the home of innocence. But this morning, as I looked at jarring photos of the aftermath of yesterday’s attacks, all I saw were desolate streets, devoid of voices, laughter and debauchery.