When the Twin Towers were attacked in September 2001 I had numerous personal connections to New York City and the tragedy that we experienced. I had visited clients on the 110th floor of the Second Tower five weeks earlier, and had lunch at one of the lovely restaurants on the ground floor. One colleague didn’t survive the attack, others watched the towers fall, and we all gradually returned to a different kind of normalcy. But some things you just don’t forget. Even though I regularly traveled to my then employer’s headquarters in the Big Apple, I have lived in Boston all my life and was acutely aware that the 9/11 terrorists boarded those doomed flights at Boston’s Logan Airport. I think about that fact every time I fly in and out of Logan.
Now there’s something else to think about each time I walk down Boston’s quaint, almost European city streets. If New York is brash and big, Boston is cosy with understated elegance, compact enough to walk across on a warm day if you’re in pretty good shape. The Marathon route up Boylston Street through the heart of the city is well known to anyone that’s attended an event at the Hynes Convention Center, visited the Boston Public Library, or shopped at the Prudential Center, Newbury Street, and other Back Bay hot spots. I was just there a couple of weeks ago and parked my car (or, if you have a real Boston accent, paaahked my caah) at one of the many garages on Boylston Street.
Friends and colleagues from all over the world have been texting, IM’ing, emailing me to ask if I’m okay, if my family and friends are okay. My first reaction is to reassure them that everyone I know is unhurt. But it doesn’t make me feel any better. Because like all sane, caring people in the world, we are all hurt. My heart goes out to the Richard family who lost their eight-year old son. I don’t know them personally and may not have an inkling of how they feel, but I do know one thing—I have a son and can’t imagine what I’d do if anything happened to him.
So where do we go from here? There’s no respite in the media coverage. It’s devolved quickly into an endless loop of videos of the explosions and the aftermath. I shut everything off this afternoon when one station launched a story titled, “How the Media is Covering the Boston Explosion.”
This is not about the media. It is not about ratings. It is about families whose loved ones have been killed or severely injured. It is about a city with tremendous resilience. There’s no doubt in my mind that we’ll pull together and recover. The tragedy is that it happened again in a city I love. There has to be a better way.