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The true meaning of one nation

Posted: Friday, Apr 26th, 2013

Over the past couple weeks we all have watched with great interest in and dismay at the Boston Marathon bombings. The terrible act occurred almost two weeks ago, but it seems just like yesterday. With one suspect dead and the other hospitalized, Boston is no longer on alert and is operating irregularly.

I could write about the alleged attackers – who they are, why they might have done this, and what their family is saying. I could choose to give recognition to their names and to their acts. I could do all of that.

Instead, I want to write about those who were victimized and those who were heroes to many of the victims.

In events like this we sadly know the attackers’ names better than the names of victims and heroes. Heroes and victims like Jeff Bauman, Sydney Corcoran, and Celeste Corcoran were all severely injured by the bombs – Jeff and Celeste lost both of their legs. But, their names and stories are relatively unknown.

There are 15 people who lost a limb in the Boston bombings. All 15 are just realizing their uphill struggle. Not only are the initial medical costs enormous, but the victims must then worry about physical therapy and prosthetic limbs – which can cost up to $50,000. Those who choose not to go the prosthetic limb route must worry about wheelchairs and wheelchair accessibility – like modifying their homes. But, not many of us have thought about these struggles.

Then there are victims like Nick and Lee Ann Yanni who have lost their hearing. For Nick hearing loss was temporary. Lee Ann, though, has yet to recover her hearing. It may not be as extreme as losing a limb, but it is as life changing as losing a limb. If Lee Ann does not regain her hearing, she will be forced to learn new ways of communicating, listening, and getting around. We rely on our hearing for much more than just listening to something directly. Think about the indirect things that our hearing assists us with – she may never have that back again. But, how many of us knew about their story?

One of most iconic images from the bombing is of Leo Fonseca carrying an injured woman – his girlfriend. After the first bomb went off, Leo fell on top of Kaitlynn Cates, who nearly lost a leg in the explosion, to protect her from any further injuries. Pictures show him shortly after he scooped her into his arms and ran from the scene.

Like Leo and Kaitlynn, Victoria McGrath was severely injured and in a state of hysteria. She had two heroes – firefighter Jimmy Plourde who carried her to safety and care and Tyler Dodd who stayed by her side, calming her and shielding her from any further injury until an authority figure arrived. Victoria said Tyler saved her life.

After mentioning just a few names here, there are countless others who should be named, who deserve to be known because of their bravery, because of their selflessness, because they are the reasons that we are still the greatest nation on this planet. It is in our weakest moments that our true character shines. This country is made up of people who care for one another, and in moments of hysteria we forget about any differences we might have because we are one nation.

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