Two days after the bombs exploded near the finish line of the Boston Marathon, the city remains traumatized, partly paralyzed. The inhabitants, though shaken and shattered by the violence, want to stand up against the sense of fear: “We’re the ones to decide when to finish the marathon,” says Joanna, a 19 year-old college student in Boston. An event has been organized for Friday evening – to walk the last five miles of the marathon, which is where the police forced them to stop. The walk will be a sign of hope to show the world that there’s more good than bad in the city of Boston.
Joanna was cheering for several friends who were running in the marathon; she was standing about five miles away from the finish line. “All of a sudden, there was chaos; there were cops everywhere telling the people that the race was over.” Joanna was scared; nobody knew what happened, more-so because the cell phones were not working. There was talk that there had been two explosions, then she overheard two policemen speaking about a bomb attack. “I started to realize that my friends were right there in the middle of it all, and I was so anxious to know if they were ok”. Feeling helpless, Joanna took refuge in a cafe’ when one of her friends who had participated in the marathon walked in the door. “I bought him something to eat; I listened to him”. By doing these simple acts of love, Joanna realized that we can’t remain paralyzed with fear.
She found out that all her friends were fine, though one girl was very close to the bombings. “Unfortunately, a lot of families and other students cannot say the same,” says Joanna, “I’m praying for them.” Every evening, Joanna goes to Mass at 10 pm, and she invited all her friends to go with her. To her surprise, they all turned up. Mass there was normally attended by just a handful of people, but this time the Church was full. They weren’t all Christian, but everybody felt the need to pray.
More than 12,000 people have already signed up for the Friday walk. Though the sad, strange atmosphere still lingers and continues to be a suffering, Joanna is sure of one thing: “We have to show the world that love is stronger. We have to believe more than ever before in a united world, and to do our little part.”
By Susanne Janssen (Living City Magazine, NY – USA)