Excerpts from the Globe’s “Voices of New England’’ blog at www.bostonglobe.com/podium
Make sense of a senseless act? It may be impossible. Yet we try to do just that, because the nagging feeling that something senseless has reshaped our lives proves intolerable. We fiercely resist disempowerment. If we are disempowered, our lives lack meaning.
We can, however, turn to the arts. First, a caveat: Literature illustrates, through narrative, how life works under various social, economic, or political circumstances or how it seems to work in the minds of characters with high principles or base motives. Literature does not tell us what to do. As readers, we still have to decide for ourselves what ideas to embrace and actions to take.
David Emblidge is associate professor is the department of writing, literature, and publishing at Emerson College.
The cowardly bombings in our city a year ago were overshadowed by the selfless acts of bystanders and our professional first responders, who expedited victims’ access to emergency care. To capitalize on that heroism, hospital trauma teams had to be prepared to receive the victims, rapidly and expertly triage them, and provide the best immediate and subsequent care. Our systems worked especially well on that tragic day, and people survived injuries that would have been fatal in less-prepared settings.
Our trauma systems function this way every hour, every day, year-round. In fact the night after the marathon bombings four gunshot victims came to Boston Medical Center. And while we don’t think anyone takes these trauma services for granted, after April 15, 2013, there was certainly increased recognition and appreciation for the sophistication, experience, and expertise of the Boston trauma centers.
Gerard Doherty is surgeon-in-chief at Boston Medical Center. Peter Burke is chief of trauma services at BMC.
Last year, I was standing 30 feet from the second explosion. In the days and months after the bombing, I was often asked to describe what I saw that day. A year later and the answer is still the same; I saw what I always see: the city. My route home from the blasts — on foot and by Hubway — made me see Boston, a city I “look” at every day as an urban designer — in a completely different way.
When the bombs went off at 2:50 pm, I was standing just inside the storefront of Crate & Barrel, about 30 feet from the second explosion. Within moments, the store had become a critical pass-through, sucking people through the block like a permeable membrane.
I was transfixed by the transfer of people from Boylston through the back service doors of the retail shops and restaurants. In the moment, it was not lost of me that these alleys were now functioning as a kind of relief valve.
Corey Zehngebot is senior urban designer and architect at the Boston Redevelopment Authority.
This year’s Boston Marathon theme is #weruntogether, and it could not better embody the spirit of the Boston running community.
Most of my long runs have been along the Marathon course itself, and on each run I have been inspired by the generous outpouring of support from volunteers braving the elements and offering a kind “need anything?” as you approach.
I look forward to Monday and to representing my community in a show of solidarity that evil and hate will never win.
Jalon Fowler lives in Revere and is running her fourth Boston Marathon.
How is my experience dealing with terrorism in Israel relevant to the people of Boston? The truth was that I did not know. So, I began to pay more attention to what people in Boston were saying about the Marathon bombing.
I found many signs of pain and apprehension: the shootout rehashed on TV, mobile security cameras installed, PA system enhanced, to mention only a few. But I also discovered expressions of optimism and hope: a bombing survivor’s fiancée expecting a child, runners preparing for the upcoming Marathon, banners hung to celebrate the resilience of the people of Boston, even the painting of a new finish line.
No one can guarantee that tragedy will never strike, but this model of resilience is critical when — heaven forbid — it does.
Yehuda Yaakov is Israel’s consul general to New England.