Excerpts from the Globe’s
“Voices of New England’’ blog
STANDS WITH BOSTON
As we learn more about the two brothers who appear to have perpetrated these horrific crimes, Americans must remember that the alleged bombers’ faith and the communities that they come from are no more linked to terrorism than any other community or faith would be.
Over the past decade the American Muslim community and communities falsely perceived to be Muslim have been on the receiving end of numerous hate crimes. As a nation we experienced a horrible attack last Monday. No community moving forward should fall victim to those horrors twice.
Religious pluralism, equality, and inclusion are core American values that all of our leaders must take responsibility for protecting. In these moments that test our collective strength it’s important to remember that we are strongest when we stand together and that America’s exceptional inclusion has always been a defining characteristic of our national identity. The Tsarnaev brothers were allegedly responsible for these attacks on Monday, not my Islamic faith.
THE NEED FOR STRONG
Military patients with traumatic limb loss take part in a comprehensive rehabilitation program that provides them with surgical and medical care, physical and occupational therapy, and a wide variety of prosthetic limbs as well as opportunities to use them in a diverse array of sporting and recreational activities. Observers of the military’s physical rehabilitation program cannot help but be impressed by the extraordinary results achieved by patients, many of whom go on to attain a degree of physical functioning that approximates their pre-injury abilities.
A similar program would produce extraordinary outcomes for the victims of the Marathon bombings. The question is whether such a program will be available. I assume the victims have a wide variety of health insurance plans, ranging from some that are comparable to the military’s plan to no health insurance whatsoever.
But beyond the question of financial means another issue looms large: Does the civilian health care system provide access to the kind of care that has been so successful with military patients? This level of care involves multi-hour sessions with physical, occupational, and recreational therapists. Will these civilian patients have their choice of prosthetic limbs designed and built for different activities and different environments?
FROM ANGER TO HOPE
Again and again, I saw the same sentiment on social media: “We’re not scared. We’re wicked pissed.”
Yeah, we were. I was so angry I drove halfway up to Boston from Providence Friday night before reining myself in. What on earth was I going to do about it? On the way back, I got a call from my mom. The robot they were about to send into the scene was the one my dad had played a major role in designing and engineering, she told me — a robot that had been used largely in the Middle East. He had spotted it on the news. My anger turned to hope: terrorism didn’t stand a chance against Bostonian ingenuity.
THE MARATHON OF FREEDOM
As I run through peaceful mountain trails in Colorado, my thoughts are with my grieving friends and fellow runners in Boston. For me, growing up behind the Iron Curtain in East Germany, the Boston Marathon was always the Marathon of Freedom, held in a far-off country I could only dream of, where I knew people were free to speak their minds and live their lives. Then the Berlin Wall came down, and in 1990 I finally and exuberantly stood on the starting line in Hopkinton to begin my own personal freedom run.
Today, I remembered that magical race, and I suddenly experienced a profound feeling of strength that countered the confusion and disbelief of witnessing the wicked violence of the bombings.
A terrorist’s cruelty did deprive us of our freedom to run . . . But only for a moment in time, because we all united and rushed forth to help our fellow citizens, and defied danger to stand up for our hard-won principles of freedom. Rather than being weakened, we gained strength from this act of terror. We stood united and vowed to not have our freedoms compromised.