It was truly a nightmare week as events in Boston unfolded. Like millions of other people around the world, it was difficult to tear myself away from news about the city. People from the Gillings School, Wellness Center and other people I knew were running the marathon. My sister was at mile 20 waiting for a friend. I was nervous and concerned. Were they ok? Thankfully, they all checked in over the first couple hours after the explosions. Everyone was accounted for, safe but traumatized by events. Searing images, sounds and words left no ambiguity: hundreds of people’s lives would be changed forever, some in terrible ways, by the evil that had occurred in Boston on what started out as a beautiful day, full of promise and joy.
My husband and I waited very near the finish line for my sister to finish the NYC Marathon more than 20 years ago. The excitement and thrill of completion were so palpable and infectious that we committed right then to run NYC the next year. We did, and it was a moment I will never forget. That someone could have turned such a collective, exhilarating experience into a nightmare is unimaginably evil.
Unfortunately, for Americans, it was another lesson that terrorism can happen anywhere, anytime, inexplicably and without warning. People near to the explosions seem to have reacted in heroic, amazing ways. Emergency responders mobilized quickly and effectively, because they had trained meticulously to do so. Over the next few years, as budget cuts take effect, it will be so critical that we not allow our preparedness efforts to deteriorate. As we saw this past week, preparedness saves lives.
Thinking of the people in Boston. Barbara