Boston rises in the wake of tragedy

Boston rises in the wake of tragedy

“Daddy, a bomb blew up in Boston!”

That was how my 4-year old greeted me when I came home this evening.

Of course, I already knew about the horrific attacks during the Boston Marathon, first on Twitter, then realizing the gravity of the event as mainstream media caught up.

I practice in Nashua, NH, which is about 45 minutes north of Boston.  But I’ve been in New England for more than 20 years, having gone to Boston University for undergrad and medical school, and Boston Medical Center for residency.

The Boston Marathon is annually held on Patriot’s Day, a uniquely Massachusetts holiday.  It is a day where most everyone would gather and watch the marathon, either somewhere along the 20 plus mile stretch, or if you’re lucky, along the finish line.

Today, those at the finish line weren’t so lucky.  Reports are that 3 people died, one an 8-year old.  Some 150+ were injured, many critically.  Those numbers are expected to rise.

Watching replays of the explosion over and over again on Boylston Street was visceral.  I know those stores, dined in those restaurants, and have walked on those blood-splattered sidewalks.   If something like this can happen in a Boston, on Patriot’s Day, it can happen anywhere, to anyone, at anytime.

Despite the grim news, moments of inspiration shine through.  The staff in area’s hospitals, Boston Medical Center, Massachusetts General Hospital, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Beth-Israel Deaconess Medical Center and Tufts Medical Center, are all performing miracles within their walls this evening.  And the response from law enforcement agencies was calm, professional, and prepared.

Wendy Sue Swanson and Claire McCarthy provide sage advice on how to talk about today’s violence to your children.  Go read them.

And also turn to Twitter, where, during a time of tragedy, a city reveals its true character.

Kevin Pho is founder and editor of

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  • wcwinc

    thanks for the nice post…. the explosions show the evil and these pictures show the goodness that we need to believe will win.

  • houriganterry

    Your story was good to hear.

    I’m trying to remember the fear and disbelief,
    and something else I can’t describe,
    on the day of the World Trade Centers.
    I was out in the Bronx seeing patients. I didn’t see
    people in Manhattan on Tuesdays. I had an AIDS
    patient at 325 Chambers St, who watched the buildings
    come down from his livingroom only three blocks away.

    I just kept looking south. You could see it from everywhere.
    By the afternoon you could smell it from everywhere.
    Wiring, plastic, insulation, roofing, flesh.
    I was working twelve miles away.
    It was a smell I haven’t experienced before or since.

    If you read Christopher Hitchens’ series on cancer,
    - one insight struck me and has proved itself true
    for the several times I have tried to apply it.
    Today again it holds true for my world here,
    as I am thinking about yours there:
    “You can’t recall pain from memory”.

    I remember fear, anticipation and solidarity.
    I weigh what you must be experiencing.
    And as Hitchens wrote,
    I truly can not re-experience that pain.

    I hope it goes well with your kids.


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