I had planned to write about something else tonight, but talking about my loss and my life in light of today’s horrific events at the Boston Marathon would be incredibly self-centered. Instead, I simply want to say what so many others have been saying throughout the afternoon and evening — my prayers and thoughts are with those people who were injured and their families, the families and friends of those who were killed in these terroristic acts, the spectators and participants who were present, and the first responders and medical teams who treated the wounded. 

I’ve avoided television news today, knowing that I couldn’t stomach the unending broadcast of the pictures, the speculation, and the time-filling sound bites that run in a continual loop at times like this. Instead, I have chosen to stay informed through online media. As I looked at the pictures and read the first-hand accounts, several thoughts stayed with me.

First and most importantly, I was sickened by the images of the wounded. Yet I think it’s important for these pictures to be shared. While I’m very sensitive to the fact that the victims are being captured on film at a time they are most vulnerable, I think it’s also important that Americans see the horror that was inflicted on our countrymen. We should be shocked, we should be outraged, and we should do all we can to make sure this never happens again.

While the pictures of the wounded sickened me, it was the pictures in which others were helping those who were injured that moved me to tears. The first responders — some rushing to some unknown-to-the-reader need, some stoically dealing with the injured or with terrified bystanders — were obviously performing with great valor. A large majority of the photos I saw showed “civilians” helping the wounded or the frightened. Pictures of young men and women carrying the injured to safety, a man tying his t-shirt around an injured runner’s leg to staunch the flow of blood, a runner comforting a sobbing child — these pictures brought tears to my eyes when I saw them and still do now.

The pictures of people carrying American flags filled me with pride and sorrow and even, i admit, some fear.

Once again, Americans are dealing with an act of terrorism on our soil. This terrorism will change us, as it should. But I hope that however we feel tonight as we grapple with the events of the day, that this horrific event causes each of us to be even more mindful of the preciousness of life, of the importance of treating others with love while at the same time exacting justice for those who are wronged or victimized, and of how, no matter what our  political, religious, or idealogical differences, we must stand together.

God bless America