Where Were You? Students' Stories of the Boston Marathon Bombing • An ICMPA Media Literacy Project
It was my birthday.
I turned 19 on Monday, April 15, 2013. Just two days ago, my friends and I had gone down to the nation’s capital to see the cherry blossoms that were in bloom. After celebrating the whole weekend, Monday eventually came and I had to return to school. It was a very gloomy and misty day and there were barely any visible clouds.
Ever since I could remember, my birthday is always a day of gloom. Something about April 15th is just so unappealing to the natural turn of events in history. April 15th. Tax day. Death of Lincoln. Sinking of the Titanic. Now people will be adding “Boston Bombings” to that list. When I stumbled upon a CNN post on Facebook, I have to admit that I did not pay much attention to it. However, once the stream of posts from numerous Facebook friends showed up on my news feed, I began to look into it. I am ashamed to say that I was angry for the wrong reasons. I did not want my birthday to be even more tainted after this event, which was a completely immature and naïve way of looking at this tragic and monumental event. After searching on various news sites, I began to recollect my experiences before I came to the University of Maryland.
I grew up in the Montgomery County area, which is near the university. Events such as 9/11 and the DC sniper attacks came back into my immediate memory. However, as I read more deeply into the bombings in Boston, I became reminiscent of a very specific event that happened in my high school. During my junior year in senior high school, there was a series of threats involving guns, trashcan fires, and bomb threats. There was a period of time where we were allowed to stay home at school if we felt unsafe in class. After the bomb threat at my school, I remember hoping and praying that nobody else would have to go through the anxiety that I had to deal with during these threats.
The Boston bombings reminded me that bad things happen to good people sometimes, and unfortunately, that is something that is almost inexplicable and inevitable.
Although the first thought that came into my head was completely selfish, I realize that the girl who had those thoughts is not the girl who reflected upon her past and is writing this reflection now. Yes, it was a terrible day . And yes, it happened to fall on my birthday. But I should be thankful that these bombings did not occur while I was enjoying the cherry blossoms in Washington DC — on my birthday.
I should remember Boston and that I am part of a world that is bigger and more important than myself.