Editorial: Combating memories of tragedy with representations of strength


Illustration by Ally Rzesa

By Editorial Board

At Issue: Student involvement in Marathon Monday

Our Take: Appreciate and honor the marathon


Trigger warning: This editorial addresses events that occurred at the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing.

On Monday, the city of Boston will host the 123rd Boston Marathon. The marathon is not only the world’s oldest but is regarded as one of the most challenging as well. Participants from all over the world will gather in Hopkinton, Massachusetts on Monday morning to race 26.2 miles to the finish line in Back Bay. The Beacon hopes students will go out and show support for the participants and represent the resilience of the city.

On April 15, 2013, two homemade pressure-cooker bombs set off near the Boston Marathon’s finish line killed three people and injured hundreds. Eight Emerson students were injured in the attack, the most of any school in the city, according to a 2013 Beacon article. The entire school went into lockdown after the initial reports of the attack, and the school’s emergency services urged students to stay inside.

During that lockdown, Emerson students Nicholas Reynolds and Chris Dobens created the “Boston Strong” campaign—selling T-shirts with the slogan and raising over $700,000 for One Fund Boston in two weeks. This same strength and ingenuity courses through the veins of students today, and Marathon Monday reminds us of that courage.

That senseless act of domestic terrorism looms over the city and its annual marathon festivities to this day. But in the aftermath of the tragedy, Bostonians came together, and their unity in the months that followed continues to serve as a pivotal symbol of strength nationwide. Those who experienced the attack first-hand and those who live here now stand in solitude against the violence that hit the city six years ago.

Ryan Catalani, one of the Beacon’s managing editors during the semester of the bombing, illustrated the attitude of the college and the city following the attack in an op-ed for that week’s issue.

“We must mourn, we must be outraged, we must remember,” Catalani wrote. “But we must not allow ourselves to be defined by fear. The best way to respond to this situation, to not let the attacker or attackers succeed, is to simply resume our normal lives.”

The day of the Boston Marathon shouldn’t simply be a day to have fun. It should also be a day to honor the victims of the bombing and to show our gratitude to the police, first responders, and other community members who were impacted six years ago. Following the bombing, police presence at the event increases every year—250 liaisons will represent 70 agencies and organizations to conduct safety operations this year.

This year, Emerson freshman Brendan Beauregard will run the marathon to raise money for his older brother, a corporal in the Marine Corps, who was diagnosed with stage IV colon cancer in September 2017.

Attending the marathon is important—not only to show support for the runners, but also to recognize what the marathon stands for six years after the bombing. Cheering runners on from the sidelines actually shows Boston’s resiliency and the city’s ability to triumph over tragedy. It demonstrates that fear cannot and will not control us.

On Monday, head down to the finish line in Back Bay or any other part of the marathon route to support the runners. Join the city of Boston in one of the most important holidays of the year that stands for something bigger. And, as always, be safe and have fun.