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Weekly Column: Boston


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At 2:45pm on Monday, April 15th, Patriots Day, two bombs were detonated in downtown Boston. These bombs, designed to injure, did their work. Folks just like you and I-- folks who had families, friends, and loved ones-- were victims to this senseless act of violence. This wasn't supposed to be a day of controversy, politics, or a rally cry for a cause. This was a day to cheer on the 25,000 marathon runners and celebrate the extraordinary endurance of the human body and will.

The events of that day leave us with many questions. Who did this? More importantly, why? What had any of the victims done to deserve this? This is what makes the attack so hard to comprehend. The apparent senselessness is a strain on our human ability to understand the world around us, no matter how hard we try. But we must try. As we come to terms with what has happened, I want to share with you some thoughts on the importance of community, as this seems the only way to keep faith in humanity.

The overwhelming response to the attack is proof that there are good people, capable of pouring love and kindness back into the world. Immediately after the first detonation, spectators who weren't injured rushed straight to the aid of their fellow citizens. Barricades were torn aside in the rush of a crowd not trying to escape, but trying to get in to help. Competitors, who had only moments earlier, crossed the finish line, ran straight to the hospitals to donate blood. Student doctors left their homes and classes and came into work knowing how inundated their teachers and mentors would be. And regular folks tore off their own clothes to make tourniquets for the injured that lay next to them.

Despite the terrorists' efforts to shake us, their cowardly action has only proven the strength of our character. The attack is sobering proof that America remains vulnerable to a kind of hatred that seeks to undermine our freedoms and very way of life. But our sheer unwillingness to cede even an inch of our freedoms means that, in the end, the terrorists will fail. In our darkest moments, whether it was on Monday in Boston, or backtracking through history to the battles of Lexington and Concord, which Patriots Day celebrates, we don't turn away from fellow man or woman like our enemies hope. We turn towards one another, confident in the knowledge that no act of terrorism is enough to shatter the American spirit, nor crush our resolve.

E pluribus unum. Out of many, one. These words, emblazoned on the seal of the United States, are a powerful reminder that America's greatest strength lies in the bonds of community. In the coming weeks, as Bostonians and folks all across the nation come to terms with the devastation that was unleashed without premise or provocation, these ties that bind will become the moral and spiritual guide that gets us through the days and weeks ahead. The Boston Marathon will be back next year, and the crowds will cheer louder than ever. For now, let's pray for the victims and their families.

Until next week,

Richard Hudson
Member of Congress (NC-08)

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