The only thing I can personally say about the bomb attacks yesterday is that they were LOUD. I was in a cab at Huntington Avenue and Exeter St. when they went off. They sounded too loud to be benign, and sure enough within seconds Twitter was filling up with reports of explosions along the racecourse, and then photos that confirmed the worst.
I’m a native Midwesterner and I live in Cambridge, but the easiest thing to tell people is that I’m from Boston. When I do, I almost always get a warm reaction and fond recollections. A lot of you went to school here or worked here, or had friends or family who did. A lot of others just visited, and had a great time. The conversations I have with you confirm what I already knew; this is a special place.
The winters suck, things close too early, and still get lost driving around without Waze, but I love this city. I showed up here at the age of 17 to attend MIT, and it’s been home ever since. Outside my immediate family most of the people I love are here, and the city is a magnet for astonishingly talented and interesting people. I get to hang out with a lot of them, and I can’t believe how lucky I am (or that they haven’t kicked me out yet).
The videos I watched all day yesterday made my heart swell. The Boston cops in the immediate vicinity of the first blast all ran toward it, right away. Within seconds they were joined by people who cleared the area, comforted and cared for the injured, and paid no heed to their own safety.
I’ll vouch that the sirens started up seconds after after the blasts, and didn’t stop. Within minutes, I saw a black van full of (I assume) SWAT team members heading up Dartmouth St. Instead of being overwhelmed, in short, the city responded overwhelmingly. If Lenin was right that the purpose of terrorism is to terrorize, then whoever set of the bombs in Boston yesterday failed, miserably.
I don’t want ever to minimize the enormity of what happened here yesterday. It was a vicious, cowardly attack that killed young people, severed limbs, and knocked people to their knees. But they didn’t stay there.
Lots of friends and more than one stranger got in touch to see if I was OK. I am, and I’m so touched and grateful. The Yankees are going to play “Sweet Caroline” (unofficial song of the Boston Red Sox) tonight, and I plan to sing along.