Where Were You? Students' Stories of the Boston Marathon Bombing • An ICMPA Media Literacy Project
Here I am sitting in the coffee shop in the student union around 3 p.m. working on my English paper. Annoyed. Annoyed with this 10 page paper I am working on. Annoyed with the stresses of upcoming schoolwork and events. Annoyed with my girlfriend who bailed on our date that night. I need a break from all this. I open up the Twitter app on my phone and start scrolling down. Endless tweets with the hashtag #prayforboston cloud my timeline. Pray for Boston? What? I take my headphones out and turn around to the TV that’s on in the coffee shop. “Bombings in Boston” is the headline. Wow. I quickly get informed as I watch the TV and begin some research of my own on the internet. The tragedy of the whole event is truly breathtaking. Here I am complaining about schoolwork and my girlfriend while those in Boston are being subject to terrorism, pain and heartbreak. My problems seem so miniscule and worthless in comparison to those I am witnessing on the television. I pray and grieve for those affected and hurt.
The perspective I gained that day was quite moving. The problems I face on a day to day basis are hardly problems at all. People out there all over this world are battling hunger, disease, terrorism and death and what am I battling? A ten page paper? My heart broke for those affected that day in Boston. That could have easily been me at the Baltimore Marathon I just ran a few months prior. The few days after I was in awe of the unity and togetherness our nation put on display. Statuses on Facebook about prayer and hope. Numerous tweets on the incident; tweets filled with grief, sorrow, but, also strength and courage. Pictures and personal accounts of those who after the marathon immediately ran to the hospital to donate blood. Boston’s archrivals the New York Yankees and their fans singing “Sweet Caroline”, a Boston Red Sox classic, in their own stadium. Countless instances of love for the strong city of Boston. The sadness and disparity of this event are without question but so was the strength and might of the American people when tragedy is in our midst. The hope and assuredness that our Criminal Justice system would prevail and catch the culprits was astounding. The joy and pride in the American name after the bombers were apprehended was unparalleled. After grief comes strength. After strength comes unity. After unity comes hope. Hope was put on display at this weekend’s Relay for Life event at the University of Maryland. This same hope is ingrained in the American people. When tragedy strikes we bleed red, white and blue; American patriotism is quite the sight to see.