a moment of reflection

by haley sherif

The last time an extreme act of terrorism occurred I was too young to understand what was going on. I remember being in library, my mom coming to pick me up from school early, asking her what had happened, and still not understanding, not able to grasp perhaps, the immensity of what had occurred that morning. Because I lived in New York I could look out my window, barely able to see through the smoke, and see firsthand what they described for weeks afterwards on the news, in the papers, over the phone, via email.


This year was my first Marathon Monday. I have experienced numerous NY marathons and I was excited to see what differentiated Boston’s. I was also annoyed because of the race it was impossible to get anywhere by taxi and I ended up on the t after walking back and forth attempting to figure out how to cross the street. Within the hour any annoyance had been left behind with the beer cans, water cups, encouraging signs, and other race paraphernalia left littering the street.

My best friend called me saying two minutes ago she’d heard to loud booms and quickly left the area. I think I may have laughed, it was probably just horns or music going off, she was a few feet from the finish line. We all know now what those noises weren’t. In the moments following the bombs we reached out to our loved ones, to our friends, our families, our coworkers, going through our address books through twitter, Facebook, email and texts, confirming that they were fine, that they were safe.

It was all to eerily reminiscent of what we had experienced in 2001. This time I was old enough to determine what I read and listened to in the time preceding the events. But, I didn’t know what to do. I sat stunned on a friend’s couch. Hours before I had been wandering around the marathon sidelines, I lived on Boylston Street. We turned on the news watching it for hours, watching the endless coverage of bloodiness and sadness appear and reappear on the screen. I refreshed twitter every thirty seconds reading everything I could.

We screamed from couch to bedroom from couch again confirming and reconfirming the details we were reading in live-time as the death and injured numbers increased. This morning when I woke up I smiled as I looked out the window at the beautiful blue sky, it was another gorgeous day, like yesterday, and then I was quickly reminded of yesterday’s events. We won’t be okay for awhile, but we will be okay eventually. It will take time, but we all have the time to give, lending shoulders, love, and kindness to all in need of it.