For the last week, I haven’t been able to write. I barely posted anything on facebook, other than sharing my usual political stuff. I was literally struck speechless by the Boston Marathon bombings. It hit a little too close to home (90 miles, to be exact), as Aubrey is returning to school in just a few months and will be just a train ride away from Boston.
Several years ago, I wrote a post called, “Starry, Starry Night.” It was a short post, so I’ll copy it here:
Tonight, as I sat at Starbucks and waited for Aubrey’s dance class to end, I felt warm and cozy. It wasn’t just because I was drinking my exacting and ridiculous personal recipe for the perfect mocha, or that I was snuggled under my New Year’s wrap, or that I was curled up in one of the big, cushy leather chairs. Those are all great reasons for that warm and cozy feeling, but tonight, it was because of the four police officers sitting at the table across from my chair.
I know what I’m about to say will likely piss a few people off, and for once, I really don’t mean to. Lately I’ve been seeing a lot of posts about the military, and how great they are, and how they are the reason we can sleep at night, yada yada yada. Before you get all riled up, let me say that all of my brothers, one ex-husband, and Ron are all ex-military, and they are all my heros (although I’m positive Ron whined through all six years), but while I highly respect the men and women who sacrifice everything out of patriotism to their country and in some cases, their fellow man, they are not the reason I sleep soundly in my bed (or on my sofa).
I feel safe because of the men and women who serve here, for way less money, and a hell of a lot less benefits than our military. They are just as willing to jump on a bomb, throw themselves in front of a bullet, or even kick an ass if necessary (and if no one is looking, because there are laws, after all). Yes, I know that the majority of them are ex-military. I’m not arguing that one is better than the other, just that I feel safe knowing that with the dialing of three little numbers, within minutes someone will be at my door, ready to charge. If I could dial up Fort Sam (which is closer than the local police station) and get that same response from the army guys, it might be a different story.
So while you’re saying thanks to all the people who have died for our country and our rights and our freedom, don’t forget to say thanks to the ones who die keeping us safe, not from some undefined “evil” around the world, but from the evil right here.
It was not the Army, Navy, Air Force, or Marines who ended the manhunt for the second terrorist. It was the Boston Police Department, doing what they do every day…keeping the people of Boston safe. Most days, it is a thankless job, but not yesterday. Hopefully, that grateful feeling will last a while, especially when it comes time for the city to decide on pay raises for the police officers.
We are a nation of heroes, as evidenced by the aftermath of the bombings. While some people instinctually ran away, many others ran towards the bomb victims, in spite of not knowing if there were more bombs set to explode. Strangers comforted each other on the streets while waiting for the first responders. Fire, Police, and Emergency Services rushed in and were amazingly organized, as they rerouted the runners, took the injured to tents or area hospitals, and most importantly, searched for other devices in the area. They then engaged in one of the most organized, thorough, and exacting manhunts ever seen in this country. Not even D.B. Cooper could have escaped the Boston P.D.
Yes, I freely admit (as I did in the above post) that many of those first responders were ex-military. However, they chose to continue to be duty bound to protect and to serve outside of their military enlistments. They chose to protect and to serve their own people; their family, their friends, their neighbors, and in the case of the marathon, thousands of total strangers. They chose to be “here”-oes.
I may physically live 2000 miles away, but my heart is in Massachusetts. I am grateful to the Boston P.D. because they made me feel safe while I slept in my bed. The owner of the boat where the bombing suspect was hiding dialed 911 and within minutes, the boat was surrounded, the owners taken to safety, and after a short stand-off, the suspect was taken into custody. Those three magic numbers saved an entire city from fear, and the nation from terror.
Today, I raise my virtual glass to the Boston P.D. Y’all rock!