In the smoke and confusion of last week’s explosions I note echoes of horrors past.
We remember the bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building. Oklahoma firefighter Chris Fields stood amidst the havoc, cradling baby Baylee’s limp body.
Now, former New England Patriot Joe Andruzzi carrying an injured woman in his arms away from the blasts. Echoes.
We remember the faces of the 9/11 wounded, near blinded by the gray white clouds of debris, stumbling through the metal wreckage.
Twin towers collapsed in New York. Twin bombs at the Boston Marathon finish line. Echoes.
We witnessed the irony of still grieving Newtown parents at the marathon to support runners honoring their loved ones killed in December. The words of Newtown Parent David Wheeler, broadcast the day before the Marathon, are an eerie foreshadowing to the chaotic bloody scene here.
“Every time,” Wheeler said, “it’s somebody else’s school, it’s somebody else’s community, it’s somebody else’s town. Until one day, you wake up and it’s not.”
Two explosions last week shook Bostonians awake. They have stumbled through poisonous smoke, and been impaled by sharp-edged shrapnel, they have wept for the death of the most innocent, and they know firsthand that terror is not always in somebody else’s town.
The experts call what happened in Boston a soft target attack --soft referring to open areas that are vulnerable and near-impossible to secure. But I think when life and limb and home are attacked no target is soft.
We don’t know yet why someone would so this, and even when we do I’m not sure we’ll understand it. All we can do in the coming weeks and months is work through the anger, hurt, and sadness and stand for the people who have suffered the greatest losses. We are all Boston Marathoners now. We’ve crested Heartbreak Hill and are pushing past the pain to our emotional finish line. Heads bloodied but unbowed.