Sunday, Dec 21, 2014
Opinion

Coming together in tragedy


Published:   |   Updated: April 17, 2013 at 03:17 PM

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Monday afternoon, I walked into the Sebring High School baseball locker room and was greeted with an unsettling sight. The television was tuned into ESPN, yet there were no sports highlights playing. Sports Center was covering the bombing of the Boston Marathon. Video clips of the two bombs detonating and pictures of the bloody victims were shown as the normally jovial announcers shared the news with solemnity.

It wasn't until practice ended and I arrived at home that the tragedy began to sink in. NBC, CNN, ESPN and seemingly every other channel was announcing details from the attack and new video clips and pictures kept popping up. It was announced that two had died and dozens were injured. Those numbers would rise as I watched throughout the night.

Interviews with local officials, the mayor of Boston, the governor of Massachusetts and even the president made it clear that not much was known about the attack. Each stressed the importance of prayer and strength as we begin the healing process and begin searching for justice.

I was stuck to the TV as I watched President Barack Obama address the victims, their loved ones and the American people. He assured listeners that justice would be served for those involved in the bombing, but made sure to avoid jumping to conclusions. He made no mentions of terrorism, though I felt some allusions to terrorist activity were obvious. While taking all this in, I felt a little déjà vu. These same sentiments, with different words, had been expressed after the Newtown Massacre, Superstorm Sandy, the Batman Shooting and even 9/11.

The severity and magnitude of each of these individual events is obvious. While watching coverage of Monday's bombing, however, I began to reflect on these tragedies in America as a whole. The circumstances of each were different, but the grief, destruction and fear caused by them was often the same.

I was only 5 years old on Sep. 11, 2001, but I have very vivid memories of that day. I'm still not sure if these memories are my own or if they are visual creations of mine from the stories my parents told me. Either way, they are extremely powerful. I was in class at Woodlawn Elementary when my dad checked my sister and me out of school and took us home without saying a word. My sister and I watched news channels broadcast the terrorist attack for what seemed like hours. Since then, I have learned much about the 9/11 attack and sometimes wish I was more aware of the tragedy when it happened.

More recent tragedies like the Newtown Massacre and the Batman Shooting also affected me greatly. For the first time, I have begun to understand the delicacy of life. This realization really hit me while watching a “60 Minutes” special on the Newtown shooting. A mother of one of the victims addressed viewers directly. She said that she had always seen these tragedies on the news and thought it would never happen to her.

While it's never easy to imagine these tragedies happening to us, it's always a possibility. There may not be much we can do to keep ourselves out of these unpredictable situations, but when they do happen, we can show sympathy and support, with the knowledge that it could have been us. America has always come together to take care of her own, and she always will.

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