Cyndi Lauper has gotten me through many a dark night, and Monday night– though I was in the company of someone I love– was no exception. “Time After Time” became a background soundtrack to the flurry of feelings I was experiencing.
4/15 had become my 9/11. I knew exactly where I was when I received word that the Boston Marathon, one of the precious New England traditions I had grown to love and revel in, had been brutally interrupted. Two bombs had shattered a celebrated tradition, and like on 9/11, no one knew the answer to the million dollar question– WHY.
The irony of the moment was not lost on me either. I was sitting in an edit suite, putting together a package on a Syrian college student who had lost 20 cousins to the daily terror attacks plaguing his home country. And while lamenting the bitter reality he faced, I never once thought his reality and mine could be one in the same. Despite living through 9/11– a day in which terrorists attacked my home city and irrevocably disrupted my way of life, and despite living through a myriad of suicide bombings in Israel that sent me into daily tailspins, I somehow thought lightning would not strike a third time. And certainly not Boston, a boisterous but relatively benign New England city.
But it did. And my package on Syrian rebel fighters was shelved so that I could scour Boston for a local journalist willing to pull aside a few shaken 20somethings and get their perspective on the tragedy. And while a piece on the tragedy was not in the scheduled line up, I knew it had to be done– even if it meant sacrificing some of my personal time to fulfill my professional obligation.
Much like New York and Jerusalem, Boston is my home. Yes, I’ve hated on its sports teams since my dad bought me my first Yankees baseball cap in 2nd grade, but the people, the history, and the institutions are invaluable. And for four years, each of these elements enriched my college experience; broadened my cultural understanding; and expanded my appreciation for higher learning.
Though I’d say I’ve always loved to learn, Boston taught me an even more significant lesson– that I never wanted to stop. That a swanky piece of paper from a swanky liberal arts college did not mark the end of my journey. My thirst for knowledge might never be quenched, and frankly that was a blessing, not a curse.
And so when tragedy befell my college town, I barked back because if there is one thing living through several acts of terror has taught me, it’s to keep on living. Terrorists, on the most basic level, seek to take life, and I, as a quasi-news producer, seek to give it back by documenting the stories of those who dared to survive.