True American Spirit Shines Through Tragedy


Jessica Sheldon, Features Editor

With chaotic events surrounding the United States since late October, it’s hard to make sense of the recent bombing at April 15’s Boston Marathon. Thousands of Boston residents are directly dealing with the aftermath, but the continuation of tragedy in the city is enough to make me wonder about the safety of our country.

As news of the explosion made its way to social networking sites, everyone who knew anyone in the area instantly contacted their loved ones. While I had no one to text, it was interesting to watch the events unfold. News of two, then three dead were tragic, let alone the nearly 170 runners and spectators injured. To be there would be unimaginable.

The bombing came only five short months after the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn. How could a man walk into an elementary school fully prepared to take innocent lives? Can one person really have enough hate in their heart to provoke such reckless actions? In the past 24 hours, two men in Canada were arrested as suspects of a train bombing. Don’t forget the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s arrest of a Bangladeshi man planning to bomb the Federal Reserve in New York.

While none of these events have immediately affected me, I can’t help but feel personally attacked. As an American citizen, there is a sense of pride and unity one senses in these times of brokenness. From Westwood, N.J., there is not much I was able to do to comfort or support those in Newtown, Conn., or to aid the victims of the Boston bombing. But to see victims of so many lost lives commemorated on national television, or to wear running sneakers to school in honor of our Boston neighbors is enough to make me realize one cannot simply hurt just one small town in the United States without it affecting the rest of the nation.

It is not the names of the perpetrators, or their destructive actions we should remember, but the valiant actions that have resulted from these events. Men in orange vests running towards a bomb to save lives—those are the people worth remembering. Names like Victoria Soto, a teacher who took a bullet to save 20 innocent children or Martin Richard, the eight-year-old Boston Red Sox fan who died while cheering on his mother and sister at the Boston Marathon. The way that a country was able to join together to support a grieving mother or father. If there is one thing the world can say about Americans, it’s that we have a natural instinct to be there for one another, and in my opinion, that’s something each of us should be proud of.