On the morning of September 11th, 2001 I was walking to work just a few blocks north of the former world trade center when evil struck. I heard the sound of the second plane crashing into the tower and saw the fireball. That sound will be with me forever. The sky rained ash from the raging jet fuel fires and there was confusion, fear, and certainly some panic. As my coworkers and I watched the scene unfold on TV just blocks from our office, we felt the towers start to fall before we saw the video… TV was a few seconds behind the grim events nearby. The mayor told us to leave, we were too close. We left in droves, walking away from the scenes of horror while the world watched on television.
The office was closed for weeks. Our proximity to ground zero kept us closed while the fires still burned amidst the rubble. Eventually we did reopen, and my commute became a trek of sadness, as thousands of pictures were posted in downtown subways of missing persons… people who were never coming home. The fires burned for a long time, and the smell in lower Manhattan was putrid. It nauseated me on a daily basis and gave me headaches. There were nightmares. It was a difficult time, and the reflection is painful. Grief mixed with anger.
On April 15th I sat at my desk in my home office in Cambridge when evil struck again. This time I was a few miles away, not a few blocks. My first thought was of my children, who were with Red, safely at a playground around the corner from our home. The images of smoke fear and death that quickly consumed all media outlets brought me back to that morning years ago. I mourn for the families and victims of this senseless act of cowardice and evil.
Patriots day in Boston is a celebration. We have been to the marathon more than once. We have stood the race route and cheered the runners, cheered friends in the race, and celebrated with Boston. It’s a special day here, a day for Boston. The Red Sox play an early day game in the morning, the race brings people from all over the world to gather, compete, and commune. Many local businesses close, and students line the race route cheering and handing water to the runners. Evil can’t take that away. The pictures of the responders, the brave souls who run towards the smoke, remind us of the best of humanity, amidst the aftermath of the worst. Evil can’t take that away.
As we put our children to bed last night, we hug them a little tighter, happy to know they don’t have concerns about the evils of the world yet. And on this night I count my blessings for my good fortune, my family, and my friends. I mourn for the victims and their families. I know Patriots day will be a celebration in Boston once again, a celebration of community, and the best of humanity. Evil can’t take that away.