There are times in life when we are no longer divided by a city, but united by our nation. Yesterday was one of those times.
When two explosions went off at the finish line of the Boston Marathon, killing three and injuring over 100 people, Americans were stunned and in disbelief.
How could this happen? Who would do such a thing? Why? What motives could someone have to take innocent lives?
We still don’t have answers, and it seems every question has created another. U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said that the event “appears to be a cruel act of terror,” but even that’s not definitive.
Regardless of how we classify the tragic event, there were signs that the positive outweighs the negative in this world, and that most people think of this act as despicable and intolerable.
When the explosion went off, most people naturally ran away from it to take cover. Except for first responders, who immediately rushed to the aid of those in danger. Those brave civilians ran toward smoke and fire to save lives.
Others on site rushed to donate blood at hospitals. Millions of people across the country looked for any way they could help, and showed their support on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and other social media platforms.
President Barack Obama demanded justice for those responsible for this unthinkable act. So do almost all Americans.
There were similar selfless acts in the world of sports.
The NBA canceled tonight’s game between the Boston Celtics and Indiana Pacers, which was to be held in Boston. Since the regular season ends Wednesday, the teams won’t reschedule another game and will instead finish with 81 games played instead of the regular 82.
Last night’s NHL game between the Boston Bruins and Ottawa Senators was postponed, and a rescheduled game has not been announced yet. No other major sporting events have been canceled.
Several pictures from New York were posted that had projections on walls and buildings saying “NY hearts Boston,” which speaks to the intense sports rivalry the cities have with each other, and how in pressing times none of that matters.
A similar act occurred in the Chicago Tribune, as it inserted the phrase “We are Chicago” in front of all of the Boston sports teams (i.e. “We are Chicago” Celtics, “We are Chicago” Red Sox, etc.), as an ode to Beantown.
Hundreds of athletes sent out empathic tweets and re-tweeted the phone numbers of helplines. Different athletes pledged to donate a certain amount of money depending on their statistical accolades next year. The outpour was enormous, as it should’ve been.
Tragedies reveal the cruelty of the world, but they also expose its courage and compassion.
There are more good people than bad people on the planet; it’s just that the actions of the bad can affect thousands or millions of the good. In a perfect world, there would be no terrorism or devastation. But our world is far from perfect. Still, it’s how we respond that matters most.
The toughest times show America’s true character, and if yesterday is any indication, we should be proud to be Americans.