Newton, MA -- My husband runs on the Boston Marathon course near Heartbreak Hill three or four times a week.
While Heartbreak Hill took on a new meaning yesterday, he will run there tonight, just as thousands of runners will hit the pavement along the Marathon route on future spring days, summer evenings and frigid winter mornings. He also went to work in Boston today along with millions of others.
What those seeking to create terror fail to grasp is that the world keeps turning -- with their cause or deluded reasons never realized or remembered.
Despite the horror and havoc terrorists wreak by setting off bombs to take lives and rip though human flesh -- they do not, and cannot kill the human spirit. For every horrible act, thousands of good deeds sprout up. The victims of their violence become the saints and the first responders enduring heroes. The killers are just a footnote.
I lived in Tokyo in 1995 during the Sarin gas attack. My husband was on the Tube in London during the 2005 bombings on his way to meet me. He also watched smoke rise from the Pentagon near DC on 9/11; and our close friends ran barefoot toward upper Manhattan as the Twin Towers fell.
While we all of course know about al Qaeda, and some may recall Aum Shinrikyo; what I remember most about the attacks are the names of people who died, the friends who were affected, the stories of the strangers who helped, and the amazing first responders. That's what comes to mind first, not the the names of the individuals who carried out the attacks or their agenda.
We are told al Qaeda is a shell of it's former self, as is Aum Shinrikyo. While there is no doubt they created terror and immeasurable pain form many families, none of the attackers achieved their long-range goals of furthering their cause, destroying the cities they targeted (physically or functionally) and thankfully, were not capable of carrying out their promised terror campaigns. New York, Tokyo, London and Washington DC are thriving.
Boston and the world are filled with heartache today. Young Martin Richard and the other Boston Marathon bombing victims will always be remembered, and the flowers will bloom again this spring on Heartbreak Hill.
As President Obama said earlier today, "The American people refuse to be terrorized." That goes for all people around the world, and especially those of us in the Boston area today.