Life and death in Boston, MA

The Boston Marathon is the oldest modern marathon in the world.  This year marked the 116th race.

It is always run on the third Monday in April – (a public holiday in Massachusetts and Maine known as “Patriots Day”).

I have always been impressed with the organisers of this race who, when the media tycoons asked them to run the Marathon on a Sunday in order to get better T.V. coverage, said “No, our race has always been on a Monday”. 

(Sportsmanship trumped ratings).

Today the whole world knows about the Boston Marathon and has become aware of the horrendous explosions at the end of today’s race.

The figures keep changing, but it seems that more than 100 spectators were injured (some of them extremely seriously), and that two people were killed (one of them an 8 year old boy).

I grieve for that boy, even as I grieve for the eight year old children who are killed by missiles fired from American drones in Pakistan, Afghanistan and the Yemen.

c/f   a poem by John Donne
No Man Is An Island
No man is an island,
Entire of itself.
Each is a piece of the continent,
A part of the main.
If a clod be washed away by the sea,
Europe is the less.
As well as if a promontory were.
As well as if a manor of thine own
Or of thine friend's were.
Each man's death diminishes me,
For I am involved in mankind.
Therefore, send not to know
For whom the bell tolls,
It tolls for thee.
John Donne

“I am involved in mankind”.   This gets personal.

1. Yes indeed, and even more poignantly because I am so familiar with the site of the Boston bombings. I have been there so many times at the nearby  Trinity Episcopal Church in Copley Square.

2. Yes indeed because very many of my Cambridge/Boston friends were there to view the 2013 marathon, and they each have reported that they are safe.

3. Most poignantly
From “the atlantic wire”

Adding further heartbreak to utter tragedy, the last mile of Monday's Boston Marathon, which was rocked by at least two explosions resulting in an unknown number of injuries and casualties Monday afternoon, was dedicated to the victims of the Sandy Hook Elementary shooting massacre. 
Boston Athletic Association president Joanne Flaminio said before the race that it had a "special significance" because it was 26.2 miles long and there was 26 victims in the Newtown attack. There was also a group of Newtown parents running as part of a group called Team Newtown Strong who were raising money for local charities. 
"In the first twenty miles we're honoring the twenty Sandy Hook first graders," Laura Nowacki, a spokesperson for Newtown Strong, explained to WBUR Boston. "When we crest Heartbreak Hill, and we're coming back towards Boston, we run the final six for our six fallen educators, including their lives, to protect our children." 
There was a 26-second moment of silence for the victims before the race started. 


  1. Here is was I posted in an other place (I think you will understand this):
    Yes, I live in the Boston area, and I'm feeling a little sick right now. But, I remember that people who live in places like Kabul; Baghdad; Syria... live with this sort of thing almost every single day.

    So I'm feeling - how lucky we are that such an experience is so rare in our particular locale. Doesn't make it any less awful that it has happened - but it does keep our own suffering in context.
    /Joan Rasch from Boston


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