Nancy Anderson of Sammamish had a hard weekend. She traveled to Boston Friday to visit her daughter and returned back home yesterday, drained.
She emailed me about her experience after she read my column about new media reports of the Boston marathon bomber manhunt. It’s no more extraordinary than that of many Boston residents who spent the week in an unfamiliar state of anxiety. But even shared stories have heart.
I arrived in Boston early on Friday morning for a long-planned trip to Boston to visit my daughter who is attending Boston College. What was going to be a weekend of sightseeing and laughter turned into hours of worry, uncertainty, and sorrow as the weekend’s events unfolded.
The whole Boston College community was particularly affected since the marathon’s final miles are run right in front of campus. On that day, not only were all the students lining the route near campus, but some of my daughter’s friends and acquaintances were either running in the marathon or were at the finish line. Her phone call to me on Marathon Monday was one of fear and confusion.
Early on Friday morning, my flight landed at Logan Airport and my phone was buzzing with updates. Airspace over Boston was now restricted.
It was overwhelming, the amount of information bombarding us all weekend. From texts from my daughter to 24/7 coverage on every TV in every Boston area restaurant, lobby and airport gate — it was ceaseless information.
Some was frightening and false information, such as when a friend in Boston sent me a text that Fox News was scrolling on the screen a report that a bomb was found at St. Ignatius Church at my daughter’s school; to the text messages of relief that the suspect was found alive and captured. At a certain point, once I was able to see my daughter following her school’s lockdown, she asked that we have a break from the news and from talking about it. We were facing such mental fatigue and sadness following 48 hours of non-stop news.
By Sunday, as we knew the suspect was captured and that emergency responders were leaving Watertown, the city took a deep breath. Electronic road signs on the highway that usually showed traffic information and commute times read:
Thank you all.
We are one Boston.
As I was about to return to Seattle yesterday afternoon, something powerful happened that didn’t involve an electronic device or Twitter or any news outlet. At Logan Airport at 2:50pm the security line I was in was stopped and a moment of silence was observed. Everyone — passengers, airline personnel, airport workers, TSA — everyone for a time was gentle, quiet and present. It is an experience I will never forget.