Where Were You? Students' Stories of the Boston Marathon Bombing • An ICMPA Media Literacy Project
I received multiple texts Sunday night from friends at BC and other Boston schools, each exclaiming the anticipation felt for the following day. Students in the city await Marathon Monday like Christmas morning, eager to celebrate the holiday unique to Boston.
The tone of the messages exchanged changed drastically over the course of the next 24 hours. “I can’t sleep I’m so excited,” texts soon became, “I’m okay, I made it out.” After hearing the news of the explosion, I immediately contacted my family back home in Mass. I felt incredibly relieved to learn everyone was safe, including my uncle and cousins who live downtown. My eyes stayed glued to the tv screen and my phone for the rest of the day, constantly checking in with friends in Boston and desperately trying to piece together how this happened, and most importantly, why.
Breaking news stories of attacks and deaths always incite sadness and sympathy. However, the feeling of watching your city turn into a warzone is completely indescribable. The images of injured people scattering from the blast site and the subsequent video coverage of SWAT teams and Boston Police officers surrounding residential homes transformed Boston from a peaceful city to a crime scene. I wanted to be home with my family, I wanted to do something. I felt useless sitting in my room here in Maryland, but I never lost hope.
Marathon Monday, the most awaited day of the year in Boston, is a tradition like no other. Growing up forty minutes south of the city and attending high school downtown, I grew to appreciate the heritage behind this holiday. Early in my life, I appreciated Marathon Monday because it gave us a day off of school, but over the years I began to associate the holiday with the rich heritage of my home city. Flocking to the streets to support the men and women running the race represents the love of Bostonians. Handing out water to the athletes, be they family members or strangers, represents the generosity of Bostonians. Spectators saluting service members as they pass represents the pride and respect of Bostonians.
Although terrorists succeeded in wreaking havoc on this day and temporarily immobilizing our city, they failed in breaking our unwavering faith. Our response, like the holiday itself, embodies the spirit of Boston, Massachusetts. Runners raced to hospitals to give blood, towns held candlelight vigils, athletes adorned jerseys with the names of victims, and children held lemonade stands to raise money.
Today we mourn the lives lost honor them by standing strong in our conviction; Boston cannot be broken.