Where Were You? Students' Stories of the Boston Marathon Bombing • An ICMPA Media Literacy Project
On Monday, April 15th at 2:50 pm. I was in the University of Maryland’s McKeldin library furiously attempting to get a paper done. I had logged myself out of Facebook, and had secluded myself into my own room with my phone far away from me. On my study break at 3:40, I logged back into Facebook just expecting to see a regular news feed. When I scrolled through my news feed, I immediately saw video footage one of my friend’s had uploaded. I was astounded at what I saw. I was detached from the Internet for merely an hour, and a monumental disaster had occurred during this time. Immediately once I looked at the video, I thought of one of my best friend’s dad who was running in the marathon – I instantly got chills for her.
A simple text message, “Is your dad ok?” now seems to hold so much more weight than it did when I first sent it. This was one of the only messages I had sent or gotten since I had secluded mysel, and was focusing on writing my paper. After that moment, I logged onto CNN and New York Times online and began watching videos and reading every news article I could find about the bombing. Horrible images began to flood my newsfeed, and well as statuses that read “Boston Strong.”
As I looked at my Twitter and Instagram, the same things occurred but I could only think about my friend’s dad, and she had not responded to my text. I still realized I had to get my paper done so I turned of all of my electronic devices, and continued to write my paper. Once I had finished my paper at around five, I tuned into the news and social media to discover more about the story. So much had happened just in an hour – news stories flooded my new feed, I had a million text messages about the event, and “Pray for Boston” statuses were everywhere I looked. Later that evening, I had an event with my friend who had still not responded to my text. I ran up to her immediately, and she told me that her dad was fine but she didn’t respond because she simply in shock.
Once I got home, I reflected on the entire momentous day, and I drew a lot of parallels. This bombing was an extremely different experience for me than the 9/11 bombings when I was in second grade. Now I have the ability to read and actually understand all of the news stories, and gather information without someone having to relay it to me. Boston was almost worse than 9/11, since no one was there to sugarcoat the events for me. Another similarity I saw between the two attacks, was that the suspects were not immediately identifiable – which made the entire situation scarier.