Boston Marathon bombing: my experience



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On the afternoon of April 15, I was at the Apple store on Boylston Street asking the shopkeeper if Boston is a safe city to live in. “Boston is very safe,” she assured me confidently. “My son lives in New York, and Boston is much safer.”

An hour later, two bombs were detonated at the finish line of the Boston Marathon, shaking the city with reverberations that took the lives of three people, the legs of dozens, and stole much of the pride and confidence of the Boston citizens on not only the day of the Marathon, but on Patriot’s Day as well.

I was in the city for a college tour, trying to find somewhere I’d feel comfortable living, as someone who had never lived in America before. My family and I were pleased when we realized that our visit would coincide with the Boston Marathon, as we had heard of its prestige.

Luckily, my family and I had already left the area before the bombing, and were completely oblivious until we received frantic messages from worried relatives in London. We left the finish line to get lunch in a hotel by the harbor. Videos of the explosions along with its victims dominated local TV, as Bostonians, Americans, and ex-patriots around it fell apart in a fit of disbelief and despair. Shortly after, a warning was issued urging people to stay home and avoid gathering in large groups, forcing us to remain where we were in a “lockdown.” The hotel staff, straining to be hospitable and upbeat, were visibly upset, some even worrying about their friends or family who might have been hurt.

We were all exchanging stories and comparing our luck, still coming to terms with what had just happened to the most undeserving city. Discussions were opened on how the security could be so lax in an event that attracts spectators worldwide. People hypothesized on things they knew little about, spread the blame to foreign terrorists, and narrowed down America’s enemies in an attempt to find out who would be capable of inflicting such horror.

Hours passed, Obama made an address, and we were forced to spend the night in a hotel far away from the city center. Despite many not being by the finish line as the bombs exploded, people throughout the entire city were feeling united in a way I have never experienced before. Videos surfaced of civilians running towards the catastrophe to try and aid victims instead of worrying for themselves. In the wake of a disaster, the American people stood together and tried to get past the situation.

The next day, however, was almost worse than the previous. What was a bustling tourist-filled city the day before was now a ghost town. The city center became enclosed in police tape, now a crime scene, guarded by armed men and vans with “special operations” emblems. Many chose to wear their blue “Boston Marathon” merchandise, now 50 percent off, as the city and its people recuperated. Though nobody talked about the devastation, there was an air of deep sadness as we tried to remember those who had fallen in the exact place we stood less than 24 hours before.

As I left Boston and mulled over my impending move, I was asked whether I felt safe moving to America amidst all the devastation that has occurred this year alone. Though, in all honesty, the prospect of moving somewhere that was bombed while I was on a college tour is a little bit daunting, seeing the way the situation was handled eases my mind. Nowhere is completely safe, and if I judge a city based on acts of terrorism, than I wouldn’t be living in London.

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