What “One Boston” Can Mean for All
The electronic signs over the expressway and MassPike recently flashed in sequence:
“We are one Boston.”
“Thank you to all.”
We’ve had 9/11 when planes flew out of Boston into New York’s twin towers. We’ve had the Boston Strangler(s).The anarchist bombing of a North End fire station. The anti-Catholic burning of a Charlestown convent. We can fall back further to our nation’s bloody beginning here. Most brought more death and injury than the Boston Marathon bombings. All involved people we could call misguided, immoral or crazy. Countless events in the world at the same time wreaked more havoc. Why was this so different?
It hit home in yet another era. Our illusion of living in a safe, peaceful, civil world on a beautiful day celebrating a classic friendly event blew up on us, quite literally. It traveled our streets, our backyards. The armored vehicles were around us this time, not in a war zone. The Black Hawk helicopters were over us, not Bin Laden’s compound in Pakistan. We don’t like getting our bubble burst and this really smashed it.
Now, with any luck, Boston is testing the notion of being “one” in an eye-opening way. We have been given a new lens and new common ground. Boston as a city rests in the minds of this country right now with considerable awareness and sensitivity. No other city in the world has quite the same opportunity to sharpen its image, to model what coming together can really mean. Never have we been invited so openly to acknowledge each other as friends and neighbors, to reach out through all of our racial, religious and economic difference. May this tragedy be remembered for what we lost, and for what we may be about to gain.