But it did, underlining once again that terrorists hit the unsuspecting, the most vulnerable, at times and in places where we least expect it. Terrorists are first and foremost cowards, after all. Their payoff is in the panic and fear they rouse.
In Boston as in every other place where terrorists have struck throughout history, the terror also roused the heroic instinct in those who ran to help the injured. In Boston as in Oklahoma City, New York and Fort Hood, there were people who didn’t hesitate to help those who only seconds before were just faces in the crowd, perhaps.
It was a tough day in Boston, but Boston — as President Barack Obama noted — is a tough town. The assault on the Boston Marathon runners has for a time brought a polarized nation together. Sadly, experience tells us that the sense of unity will quickly fade, but in the aftermath of this latest attack on our physical and mental security, we once again confront a common enemy — one who doesn’t ask its victims their party affiliation, race, age, sexual orientation or economic station.
Experience also shows us, though, that terrorists seldom succeed in their long-term goals. The loss of life — lamentable though it is — does not dim the determination to endure and overcome. It will take time, of course. So will finding the perpetrators.
Boston and the nation will honor the dead, heal the wounded and will hunt down and prosecute those who killed and assaulted them.
Society has changed considerably since the time John Adams, Paul Revere and John Hancock walked Boston’s streets, but this much hasn’t: Boston and the nation from which it sprang will mourn but will not wilt.
©2013 Austin American-Statesman, Texas
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