Light in the Darkness

It was a heart-wrenching, terrifying week for America. Watching the tragic events which occurred in Boston, Massachusetts and Waco, Texas, it was hard not to get emotional at times. Many innocent people lost their lives, some from a freak, unfortunate accident, others purely because of someone else’s hate.

I got teary eyed more than once. These kind of tragedies happen all around the world every day, and I’ve experienced plenty that happened in America during my lifetime, but it’s never becomes any easier to witness. These are the kind of things I just can’t become numb to.

I think of the 8-year-old boy who was killed in one of the blasts at the Boston Marathon on Monday, how he’ll never be able to grow up and experience of the dreams he may have had. I think of the 26-year-old campus police officer at MIT who was killed when he confronted the suspects in Monday’s bombings; a young man just a few years older than I, again, now unable to live out his life and make the most of it.

That’s exactly what I try to take from these tragedies; you must cherish life. It’s a very fragile, precious thing that deserves our constant respect and admiration. I’ve been lucky enough to live to almost 23 years of age, and I can only hope I will live on for much longer. When I hear about someone losing their life so unexpectedly as the victims from this week did, I’m reminded that no one should waste the gift of life that they’ve been given.

Make every day count, accomplish everything you can possibly can, and cherish every person you share your life with.

But for all of the painful stories images we saw this week, we also saw a lot of beauty. We always wish it did not have to be so, but adversity truly does bring out the very best in humanity.

Perhaps the greatest representation came in the form of America’s armed forces and law enforcement, who I have always had the utmost respect for. These men and women are the real life heroes that writers like myself can only attempt to replicate; they’re the people who sacrifice their own comforts, their own well beings to preserve everyone else’s around them. Many were injured in the pursuits of stopping the men who tried to bring terror to Boston, and as mentioned before, one lost his life. Their efforts will be—and rightfully deserve to be—commended for the longest time to come. It’s only because of them that an entire city was kept safe during this frightening event.

We also saw an incredible amount of courage from every day people. As comedian Patton Oswalt noted in his own response to the Boston Marathon bombings— “You watch the videos of the carnage and there are people running TOWARDS the destruction to help out.” Mere seconds after the blasts went off, countless men and women dove into the devastation to assist the wounded. These people didn’t have time to contemplate the danger they were putting themselves in because their natural reaction to try and aid others.

I read stories of Boston Marathon runners who, after having crossed the finish line, continued running to nearby hospitals in order to donate blood. The selfless reactions that so many people had in the city of Boston was nothing short of inspirational; reassuring that there is good in this world after such horrible actions were committed.

The rest of the country saw that courage, too, and it spread. In the wake of these events, you could feel the country coming together to support itself. Whether it was through donations or money, paraphernalia, time, or simply words of encouragement all across social media, we saw countless Americans give a bit of themselves to the victims of these tragedies.

I will never forget watching the hockey game between the Boston Bruins and Buffalo Sabres in Boston on Wednesday, April 17th, just two days after the marathon bombings. Two teams, two fanbases who abhor each other set those distastes aside and rooted for one another. The hockey players are not the heroes like the soldiers and emergency responders are, but they did their own part to help America heal, even if it was just for a night. Seeing the Bruins players and Sabres players come together at the end of the contest and hold their sticks high to salute the crowd will go down as one of the most powerful images I have ever seen in my life.

Boston Strong. American Strong. Humanity Strong.

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