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September 21, 2023

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During tragedy, civilans risk safety to help

As I’m sure most everyone knows by now, a tragic event struck Boston on Monday.

At the finish line of the Boston Marathon, two bombs went off, reportedly killing three people and injuring more than 100. The events occurred on Patriot’s Day, a civic holiday in Massachusetts commemorating the battles of Lexington and Concord, the first battles of the American Revolutionary War.

More bombs were reportedly found in the surrounding area later that day. The damage that this travesty has had is devastating, and not just for those who were present on the day of the bombings. Anyone can get disheartened simply by reading a cover of the story or looking at pictures from the scene.

However, as depressing as this story is, it’s important that we don’t let it smudge our view on the world. We must remember that, amidst the devastation and catastrophe, there is also beauty in the fact that there were so many people who were willing to help, even if their own lives were at stake.

I remember when I first heard about the bombings. I was sitting in my Ancient Literature class, minutes before it began. I remember thinking about what a nice day it had been—the sun was shining, the temperature was comfortable, and most everyone seemed to be in a pleasant mood.

A fellow student began talking out loud to the class; what he said snapped me out of my euphoric disposition. He informed not only our professor, but our entire class about the incident.

A stunned silence fell over all of us. All I could think about upon hearing this news was, “Why?”

Why on earth would people go out of their way to plant bombs at a public, celebratory event that would effectively kill, or at least seriously harm, most, if not all, of the people in the surrounding area?

I posed this question to my professor. He simply stated that it was “just an act of terrorism.” The purpose was solely to hurt people as well as instill fear in them.

I could not bring myself to grasp this concept, this idea that there are people out there who commit such horrid acts of violence simply because they want to hurt people. I knew that terrible things happened in the world, but this notion was just starting to sink in.

Immediately, I took to cynicism in order to deal with these events. I continued to read about the story and, with each new piece of information I obtained, I grew more and more cynical. The world, in my eyes, was just a terrible place.

Thoughts like this ran through my head for quite some time, that is, until I came across some images from the scene.

The pictures themselves were packed with emotion—police officers and ambulances, civilians crying. I couldn’t help the tears that filled my eyes by simply looking at the pictures. But what struck me the most, amongst all of the devastation, were the photos of the civilians—not trained police officers—who were tending to other civilians who had been hurt.

One image of two men tending to an injured woman, a whole group of four or five tending to another; the sheer love and compassion that was shown amongst strangers was beautiful.

When tragedy struck, so many people came together to help the injured. It’s hard to remember that there is a lot of good in the world when we’re constantly exposed to the bad, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t there. And this, I think, is the part of the story that we shouldn’t forget.

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