Don’t let the terrorists win

This is an editorial I wrote for The Anson Record in Wadesboro, N.C., where I am the editor. Thought I’d share it on my blog as well. I could write much more, since someone I adore (Joe McIntyre of New Kids on the Block) ran the marathon and had just crossed the finish line minutes before the explosions, but I don’t even know if I’m ready to talk about that yet. Even though I don’t know Joe personally, I’ve met him several times and I admire that he ran the marathon for his mother, Kay, who has Alzheimer’s. He inspired so many people to start running and he’s inspired me to do more to fight this horrific disease. I lost my grandmother to Alzheimer’s in 2009, and it is quite possibly the worst disease imaginable. No one deserves to have their memories stolen, to be unable to recognize people they gave birth to. Joe’s run for his mom is what I want to remember about Monday.

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Anyway, here’s my editorial….

On Monday, an act of terrorism shattered what should’ve been a day to celebrate 30,000 athletes and their amazing feat of endurance as a cowardly terrorist detonated two bombs near the finish line of the Boston Marathon.

Instead of photos of these impressive people crossing the finish line, we see photos of people missing limbs and blood-covered sidewalks.

Like the terrorist acts of 9/11 in New York City and Washington, D.C., the shooting of innocent children in Connecticut, the massacre of movie-goers in Colorado, most of us will remember where we were when we heard about the Boston Marathon bombing. And the way we react to these events says a lot about humanity. Are we going to shake our heads and say, “The world is a scary place,” or are we going to be galvanized and do something? Show love in the face of hate or give in to its atrocities and feel helpless?

Granted, there’s not much we can do to figure out when or why or where these things happen. We have no control over that. But what we do have control over is our reactions, personally.

While the terrorist(s) wanted to shake the city of Boston and in effect, the world, by this atrocious act, and bring us all to our knees, the exact opposite has happened. Video taken at the scene of the bombing shows people running toward the blast to help, instead of away from it. Bostonians and people all over the world immediately asked, “What can I do to help?” and sent loving support for the city. “#PrayForBoston” was the number one trending topic on Twitter Monday after the attack.

Terrorists seek to instill terror in us all by these acts. Instead, they bring out the best in us and bring us together. They cause us to hold our loved ones tighter and voice our feelings more easily.

If we just give up and decide there’s nothing we can do and hide inside our self-protective shells, the terrorists win. Don’t let them. Show love. Send prayers.

And remember, as civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. said: “Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that.”

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