Sometimes all we can do is watch, as events beyond our control twist the very fabric of morality. 9/11 was one such atrocity. The depravity of yesterday’s bombing of the Boston Marathon was another.
The incarnate evil of such a warped mind is beyond comprehension. A premeditated attack in which the sufferance of life is the goal is simply inhuman.
Just after the four-hour mark in the 2013 running of the world’s oldest marathon, two huge blasts, ten seconds apart, turned the event into a nightmare.
In today's hyper-digital age the explosions were caught on camera, quickly dispersing around the globe through social media and traditional news outlets.
Current figures asses the death toll at three, with over 140 more injured, some severely.
Heartrending stories have started to perforate, such as the tragedy of the youngest victim—just eight years old—who, according to the Daily Mail, was waiting at the finish line to give his father a hug.
While police investigations are ongoing, the perpetrators of the heinous crime have yet to be brought to account. And yet, with the wounds, both physically and mentally so raw at this stage, treating the victims and honoring the dead is the main priority. As President Barack Obama so emphatically stated, “Any responsible individuals, any responsible groups, will feel the full weight of justice.”
Monday was Patriots' Day in Massachusetts, a memorial to commemorate the battles of Lexington and Concord, the first battles of the American Revolutionary War in April 1775. The Boston Marathon is run each year on Patriots' Day, a celebration that has become known as “Marathon Monday.”
There is understandable a palpable sense of fear of recurrent attacks after the worst atrocity to target America since 9/11.
The spotlight from Boston has, therefore, moved to London and its marathon, which will be run this weekend.
Security will never have been higher. A celebration of sport, of community and of attainment, will inevitably be run under a cloud of fear.
It would be easy, under the situation, to cancel or postpone the event, for safety or as a mark of respect. No one could judge such an action, and indeed many may suggest it.
Yet canceling the London Marathon would not be what Boston would want, not what its victims would have wanted and not what London will want.
To cancel the London Marathon would be to give in to evil, and while we could not judge such a decision, we can learn much from New York’s response to the worst terrorist monstrosity of our age.
Today, the World Trade Centre is almost rebuilt. An ethereal water sculpture stands adjacent on the site, a beautiful testament to the lives of those who were so tragically taken.
The message is clear: Life in New York will go on, but the victims of 9/11 will never be forgotten.
The London Marathon this weekend will be a beautiful testament to the victims of Boston.
It will be a display of the wondrous human characteristics of courage and valor, as competitors, volunteers and spectators line the capital’s streets.
It will be a show of liberty and freedom in the face of deplorable iniquity.
Ultimately, however, it will be a wonderful tribute to Boston and its tragic victims, in the most fitting way possible.
Sport is all-encompassing, a universal language that transcends geographical limitations. It is a unifying passion that binds the human race together.
When the legions of runners take to the streets of London, they will run with the spirit of Boston in their feet and on their backs.
26.2 miles is a commendable achievement in any language. To finish a marathon takes guts and sweat and admirable will power. Yet in London this weekend, 26.2 miles will mean so much more.