Once again some group or someone thinks Americans can be frightened – that is what terrorism is all about. The idea is to scare people into submission or disrupt their daily lives. This has happened before in Atlanta, Oklahoma City, Washington D.C., and New York City. People lose their lives in these attacks, and many more grieve for those lost. There are also those people wounded, either physically or psychologically, and that lasts a lifetime. Despite all this, we Americans always come back and stronger than ever.
The terrorists (or others who perpetrate such dastardly acts) never learn that Americans are stronger than they realize. That is our secret weapon, stronger than planes flown into buildings; stronger than bombs going off at sporting events, and stronger than squadrons of planes sinking our ships. Each time an enemy attempts one of these assaults, it learns that it has only scratched the foot of a sleeping giant, one that cannot and will not let such cowardly actions defeat it.
Now and forevermore 8-year-old Martin Richard (one of three who died in the attack) will be remembered, as will his sister (6) who lost her leg, his mother Denise (hospitalized with serious injuries), and his father William (who was running in the marathon). Martin’s name will join a solemn list of the dead that will no doubt be read every year at some memorial that will eventually be erected in Copley Square. This is the kind of notoriety no family wants, no person wants, but it is inevitable and necessary to honor our dead lost in battle; make no mistake, this is a war and this was a battle and the people who lost their lives or suffered injuries are to be honored as we would any military casualties.
Martin Richard joins a grim fraternity of those lost to terrorism. As someone who lost a family member and friends on September 11, 2001, I could only stare at the TV screen and feel revulsion and shake with anger. I know what it is like, as do so many other New Yorkers, and my city will never be the same. No one here in New York can ever be the same. We look at our city’s skyline, permanently and irrevocably altered by madmen in planes, and to this day I feel sickened by it.
There is, however, the other side to this. The sleeping giant does not take these things lying down. Hirohito and his minions found this out after the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor. We fought a war that truly was “world” wide and defeated evil – there is no other way to describe the Empire of Japan and Nazi Germany – and now we face similar foes. They do not fly a nation’s flag and strike like hyenas in the night, but when the giant finds their lair it is safe to say they will regret it.
None of this brings back Martin Richard or any of those lost. All the bombs dropped on Afghanistan will never bring back those lost on 9/11. All the boots that have marched, all the men deployed overseas, all the ships at sea, and planes in the air cannot erect the Twin Towers again. Yet the worst thing to do is capitulate or change the way we live our lives. There has to be a bigger and better Boston Marathon next year as tribute to this year’s victims. Sports and sportsmanship cannot and will not be diminished because of this because the essence of sports is universal.
After 9/11 the Mets played a game at old Shea that I will never forget. The team wore caps of those first responders lost in the towers – NYPD, FDNY, etc. – and then Mike Piazza hit the biggest homerun in Mets history, not only winning the game but bringing the city to its feet in a roar of support for all its citizens. That’s the power of sportsmanship and that will never die, and that’s another reason why whoever did this failed in every way except in hurting people.
All New Yorkers send their thoughts and prayers out to Boston’s people now, to those affected families, and those lost. New York and Boston are now forever linked as sisters in sorrow, but our example can provide something to remember as Boston slowly heals its wounds.
All you have to do is go downtown in Manhattan and see our resilience, our strength as a people as you stare up at the new tower that is scraping the sky where the World Trade Center used to be. All you need to do is see the memorial for those lost, to stand in the mist of the falling water, and feel the rush of souls that now watch over Ground Zero.
It is too soon now in Boston, the heft of the bombings too fresh and the wounds will take a long time to heal, but they will no matter how slowly. New York will stand with Boston, as will all Americans, and April 15, 2013, will (like December 7, 1941 and September 11, 2001) be a day that will live in infamy.
Photo credits: boston first responders – aol.com; martin Richard whdh; freedom tower – the blaze.com