Boston Marathon bombings evoke deep sorrow

April 30, 2013

The word grief is defined in a version of the New Edition of Webster’s Dictionary as “deep sorrow.” Two simple words printed on a page representing a description entailing an enormous sense of loss.

And yet that definition seemed appropriate for what happened at the Boston Marathon, basically because there are no words to describe death, destruction and the maiming of innocent people. That short definition summed it up quickly, as there really was no time to grasp this event. Our minds go into a paralytic state when bright, sunny days turn into plumes of smoke and mayhem for our fellow Americans.

The quiet definition of deep sorrow is one that encompasses both feeling and emotion as much as possible on a page. It speaks to something we can feel in our hearts and yet carries such a painful connotation it is capable of bringing us to our knees. Anything as horrendous as loss of life and physically inflicting painful injuries has to include the grief that those who knew the victims or those who knew of them feel the results of such a senseless act.

As Governor Patrick of the commonwealth of Massachusetts so astutely observed, “Massachusetts invented this country.” It is the heart of our democracy, our independence, our values and our roots. To attack the very beginnings of America on a day that has special meaning in Boston, Patriots’ Day, can be interpreted as an act of ignorance and evil. Surely the very forces of nature repel such cowardice and stupidity.

I am from Boston originally. I grew up there, as my family has for generations. I can tell you firsthand that Bostonians are outgoing, humorous, generous human beings, yet known for speaking their minds and being the first to make fun of their own accent.

The city of Boston exudes history. Streets are narrow and lined with cobblestones. There are historic landmarks it seems on every street corner defining the formation of this very nation and the struggles people endured to let us live those qualities found in the Bill of Rights that result in freedom, happiness and the right to exist.

Sure, we have our own personal tragedies and bumps along the road. But we hope to have a society and citizens who don’t inflict pain upon others; believe me, there is enough of that to go around without resorting to bombs and killing innocent beings. Elizabeth David has said, “There are people who will take the heart out of you, and there a people who put it back. “ And these past two weeks have shown us both. The worst of people and the best of people. Taking lives at a public event is something we have to live with today. We don’t have to fear it, but it is a fact of depravity that festers in some deranged minds. We’ve seen all too much of that recently.

It’s not that we have been asleep at the wheel either. It’s just that we can’t comprehend what would lead someone to do such a heinous act. It’s beyond our scope of understanding.

But one thing Americans have always done, since the formation of Boston as a capitol, is build resilience to adversity. We keep on going. It’s painful. It’s difficult.

There is a little bit of Boston in all of us; our deep sorrow for these victims will keep us in that grief until we believe, this too shall pass. For we as a country are, “Boston Strong.”

  • Nancy Katz has a degree in creative writing and is the author of the book, "Notes from the Beach." She has written the column Around Town for the Cape Gazette for twenty years. Her style is satirical and deals with all aspects of living in a resort area on Delmarva.

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