Two bombs exploded near the finish line at the Boston Marathon on Monday, leaving at least three people dead and dozens more wounded.
More than 23,000 runners started the race and 17,600 had already crossed the finish line. Nearly 4,500 other runners did not finish and were diverted from the course.
The Boston Marathon, one of running’s most storied events, typically draws half a million spectators.
Some law enforcement officials were reported to have said that the blasts came at the start of a week that has sometimes been seen as significant for radical American antigovernment groups: it was the April 15 deadline for filing taxes, and Patriots’ Day in Massachusetts, the start of a week that has seen violence in the past. April 19 is the anniversary of the 1995 bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City.
The explosions brought life in Boston to a halt.
About an hour after the story broke my 13-year-old son Mason sent me a text.
“It’s like 9-11 all over again,” he text.
At the time of the Twin Towers attack Mason was 10 months old. I found it interesting that he would chose those words to describe this event since his only recollection of that time has been through past stories.
Something he has rarely spoken of or shown interest in.
To guage his seriousness of the situation and to find out what he knew, I asked him what was going on.
“Two bombs went off in Boston today during the big race. Two people are dead,” he text back.
I was intrigued about his sudden social awareness.
“It’s crazy,” he text with a sad smiley face. “What’s going to happen next? Just one bad thing after another.”
I had to pause after that statement.
Less than a year ago Mason seemed unphased by world events that caused adults everywhere to shutter.
I was careful not to belittle his feelings. It seemed that possibly his sense of security was feeling threatened. I chose to agree, instead, that watching horrific events unfold on television can feel very unsettling.
As the story started to unravel, Mason kept me updated with periodic texts for about an hour, mentioning every once-in-a-while how sad the situation was.
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Despite the difficult conversation I was proud of my son for talking to me about it.
While it may not seem like an enjoyable dinner table conversation, it’s imperative that we embrace our children and their feelings and be patient as they try to understand a world that many of us never grew up in, and are learning to navigate along with our children.