John Kevin Dark remembers how he felt in the aftermath of 9-11, and this time decides he will heed the advice of 8-year old Martin Richard.
This will not be another typical piece on the tragedy in Boston. I think the incident had a much more profound effect on me than to spend time and type space telling you what you already know. Terror is horrible, be it foreign or domestic.
You also clearly understand the people of Boston and New England are tough and resilient. You have formed your own opinions as to how heroic and wonderful the reaction of the first responders and the citizens of the great city and region are, judging by their reactions in the immediate aftermath.
Instead, I want to share the thoughts that surprised even me. My mind raced back, to the immediate aftermath of 9-11. I can still recall the hatred, anger and furious need for justice that prevailed. I joined in wholeheartedly in wanting to hit back at someone or something. Now for selfish reasons, I would like to profess that perhaps I had matured and grown as a human being, one who has come to grips with the lessons of the years that followed that event, the loss of life of thousands of Americans, and hundreds of thousands of people in the Middle East. I would like to tell you that, but it wouldn’t be the whole truth.
I had the same sick feeling, the same horror for the people of a town I once called home, but something was different. I couldn’t muster hatred through my confusion. I felt a tad bit guilty, that I would not be joining in the rush for retribution and flag waving that I anticipated would ensue.
Sometimes you must concur with whatever is said to you to keep the peace, to maintain calm. Situations that involve terrible consequences may require a delicate, quiet touch. Sheathe the saber, holster the gun, speak softly. This was the course my mind took on that day, and those that have followed.
Instead my mind kept racing back to one image, the image of an eight year old boy. He was holding a sign. The sign contained four words and a symbol.
“No more hurting each other.” Peace.
Words that broke my heart, and changed my life.
I realized in that moment, I was still embrolied in a terror event, one with my own soul. I had been at war with everyone since 9-11 and the years that followed.
I had eagerly joined in the cry for war and revenge following 9-11. Perhaps looking for a way to heal my own confused and battered soul. I have spent the last years at war with my own intellect following the realization I blindly joined in the war cry for Iraq and Afghanastan.
Despite my attempts to make it right by opposing the party that led us there, and the political wars that have been raged in this country since, I still couldn’t find peace with it, nor God for many reasons personally. I took my anger and rage and poured it in to opposing politically all who believed differently.
And nothing changed. In many ways, it only made it worse. I have alientated family and friend alike with my political beliefs, and truthfully thought nothing of doing so. I may have been right in my beliefs, and I’m certainly not suggesting this new found peace I have found will change my ideology in the least bit. Nor do I believe it will change my relationship with god.
But what I do now understand and feel badly about, can be summed up in the four words and a symbol of eight year old Martin Richard. “no more hurting each other.” Peace.
So I have come to the conclusion that if I hurt you, if I offended you with my rage, anger and opinions, please accept my apology. Sometimes being right is wrong.
The boy’s father, William Richard, is a community leader in the Ashmont section of Dorchester, according to the Globe.
“My dear son Martin has died from injuries sustained in the attack on Boston,” Richard said in a statement Tuesday. “My wife and daughter are both recovering from serious injuries. We thank our family and friends, those we know and those we have never met, for their thoughts and prayers. I ask that you continue to pray for my family as we remember Martin. We also ask for your patience and for privacy as we work to simultaneously grieve and recover. Thank you.”
What gives me the right to not have the same grace and humility as the father who lost so much that day? No amount of anger or rage, nor a rush to seek vengence will return eight year old Martin to the baseball fields where he was just learning to play. Nor will our collective anger and rage change a thing.
Lets let justice take it’s time and get it right this time. And I for one have learned a lesson and take some understanding from another horribly tragic event. Perhaps I can become a better person.
From the mouths of babes. Thank you Martin.