Saturday, April 20, 2013

Boston Marathon

I was sitting in a conference in Washington D.C. on Monday afternoon when all around me, people began clamoring in hushed tones.
"Hey, did you hear about what happened at the Boston Marathon?"
 "Someone detonated two bombs at the finish line. There are three dead and many more injured.
My mind did an instantaneous flashback to the carnage of September 11. Twin plumes of grey smoke, toppling buildings, and innocent bystanders scrambling for their lives. Chaos. Confusion. Unease. Though September 11 was a larger scale attack on America, the Boston Marathon bombing seemed more frightening and real in my mind. I suppose my recollections of September 11 are tempered by my youthful ignorance at the time (I was 11 years old).  Also, living 3000 miles away from the scene of the crime afforded a feeling of distance and relative safety.

This time, the Boston Marathon bombing hit a little too close for comfort. Though nobody wanted to admit it, a terrorist attack was on the forefront of everyone's thoughts that day. Here we were, sitting in the heart of the nation's capitol - the ideal spot for a terrorist to target. Nearby in Boston there were bombs, explosions, sirens wailing, an 8-year old dead, and hundreds of people injured. Obviously the FBI agreed with us because security was heightened immediately in Washington D.C.

We were there to learn how to lobby effectively on Capitol Hill. Lobby about student loans. Lobby about income-based repayment of student loans. Lobby about the medical devices tax. Yet all of this seemed so trivial in the midst of tragedy.

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