Ah, not Boston. In the great diaspora of post-war poor southern Italians, some of my family landed in south London, while the majority went to Massachusetts. My uncles’ traditional skills of stonemasonry and tailoring were in demand. My aunt spent years making ragu in a pasta factory. I have visited a dozen times.
Both Boylston Street and Copley Square are as familiar to me as Times Square and Fifth Avenue. Although it was Patriots Day my cousin was at work a block away from the blasts. Sadly, my family now know what those who grew up in London have contended with, a small taste of what Belfast so long endured. They share some sense of what New Yorkers on 9/11 or Londoners on 7/7 went through – less the day itself, more its aftermath: the suspicion, fear, uncertainty and displacement that cast a dark shadow over the familiar and safe.
Much depends on your degree of separation from the horror: were you, or someone you know, harmed? How closely did you know them? Was the attack at your place of work or study? Just a place with which you’re familiar?
Suddenly Bostonians look at packages and bins suspiciously, worry about daily life, like taking the “T” (the underground) which was previously routine. It’s what terrorists do: hurt and kill on the day, disrupt ordinary life thereafter. That one victim was eight-year-old Martin Richard, there watching the marathon with his family, only adds to the utter senselessness of this tragic, horrific event.
Bostonians really are tough; they will recover. Why on earth should they have needed to?