I watched my TV every one of those seven days as the horror unfolded. Explosions at the finish line. Chaos on Boylston Street. Manhunt. Another murder. Car chase. More explosions. More death, this time one of the suspects. Lockdown of one of the biggest cities in the world. Capture of the cowering second suspect from the bottom of a backyard boat.
The network correspondents turned over the stones. They interviewed a stricken and horrified uncle of the two brothers said to have plotted and committed all of this horribleness. They found high school and college classmates and teachers of the younger sibling who were so unbelieving that he could do any of it that they looked at his suspect picture in the media and told themselves it was merely somebody that looked like him.
We were privvy to a city’s recovery, too, watching and hearing the crowd fill in the second half of the National Anthem at a Bruins game when the heartsick and nervous regular opera singer halted. We heard them cheer beloved Red Sox star David “Big Papi” Ortiz drop the f-word into the middle of his pregame speech of defiance and solidarity. We sang along as a New Yorker, Neil Diamond himself, showed up to share in the Fenway Park tradition of the mid-game playing of his old pop hit “Sweet Caroline” so the fans could add their thundering “oh-oh-oh” to his chorus.
Mayhem. Justice. Healing. All crammed into seven hectic days.
We sure do live in a fast-paced society.
One week later, though, I take a deep breath and wonder what’s next.
How does American society assimilate this latest chapter of terror?
How does the world community react to another attack on U.S. soil?
How do the haters of the free world reconnoiter?
It looked like the first responders of Boston were prepared to quickly cope and help the injured when those two bombs sent shrapnel three-feet-high into innocent people. Does this make us feel more secure in any way?
The police and government agencies moved swiftly, in concert, and with great and quick success. Will this deter this new chapter of “lone wolf” terror of which the correspondents spoke?
The collective spirit of Americans was compassionate and unyielding. Does this make our enemies hate us even more?