As I sit here on a Sunday morning with my coffee, I’m trying to make sense of one incredible week. Earlier this week I wrote about the Boston Bombing. That was the beginning of a whirlwind week, culminating on Friday with a manhunt the likes of which this country has never seen.
I, like so many Americans, sat glued to the TV all day and night Friday. It was difficult to think, even more difficult to work. To me, when you work in social media, it seems a bit trivial to conduct business as usual. I find it a little strange to be tweeting, “Don’t forget your sunscreen,” when the entire city of Boston is in a first-of-its-kind lock down and a terrorist is being hunted by thousands of officers.
So I tweeted and posted on Facebook to show our support for Boston and sent messages of hope and safety to all the officers working so hard to protect us and sharing important news and updates. While working, I had CNN on in the background, unable to tear myself away from this historical event.
During the coverage, CNN showed tweets from Suspect #2’s Twitter account. While the Twitter name was blurred out, I and other viewers were able to make it out enough to figure it out and find his account. And what a chill I got. The thought that I and anyone else interested was able to read the thoughts of a cold-blooded killer through social media just kind of, well, freaked me out!
To think that two days after the bombing, after killing innocent people, he actually tweeted this: “I’m a stress free kind of guy.” Wow. There were other tweets, like telling another Twitter user that a story and photo he posted about the bombing was a fake story, and another talking about buying something on the black market.
I’ve often thought that social media was a wonderful way to share information, meet people and bring people together virtually. The thought that you could read the tweets of an evil mind was just so far out of my thought process, the reality felt like a slap across the face this week.
But the good side of social media spoke loud and clear as once again social media exploded when the news of the capture came at 8:45 p.m. Friday. While as we watched people in Boston and Watertown cheering the police, the capture was confirmed by an amazing tweet from the Boston Police Department: “CAPTURED!!! The hunt is over. The search is done. The terror is over. And justice has won. Suspect in custody.”
Ahhh. There it is. Once again, through social media we all unite, we connect, and we know the truth, even though a lot of false information may be out there. It’s important to weed through the info and find the true facts.
The whole country was pulled together throughout the week. Yankee Fans were singing “Sweet Caroline” in Yankee Stadium (seriously??? LOL!). Boston Strong became the tagline and the hashtag that represented an entire community coming together, strong, resilient, not letting go of its freedom or its ability to return to normalcy. So much expressed in two simple words.
And so on Saturday, the Boston Red Sox took to the field. It was an amazing opening ceremony kicked off by a moving and emotional slide show accompanied by the Jeff Buckley’s version of the Leonard Cohen classic “Hallelujah.” Volunteers from the Boston Marathon took to the field, members of the Boston Police Department, the Police Commissioner, Governor Patrick and so many others. As Red Sox fans joined together to sing the National Anthem and wave their Boston Strong signs, the world came together, again, united and celebrating. I sat watching from home, with tears streaming down my face, emotional, grateful for all the work of those amazing officers who risked their lives to capture the suspect. Tears flowing down my face, with sympathy for those injured and lost, and happiness that the terror was over.
The ceremonial first pitches were tossed by heroes like the off-duty firefighter who rushed to the scene to save lives, the brother who sheltered his sisters from the blast and was injured himself, and the father who pushes his son in his wheelchair in the Marathon every year for 31 years. Heroes. And the tweets went crazy.
And then Big Papi, David Ortiz, took to the field with a microphone. And he said some wonderful words, and then he briefly summed up the entire week in two sentences And while I don’t usually swear in blog posts or on social media, this one deserves repeating: “This is our fucking city. And nobody is going to dictate our freedom.” Fenway Park simply erupted with cheers.
Amen! All is at it should be. We are America, we are strong, we will not be defeated. It’s too bad it takes a tragedy to bring a country together and support each other, even if social media makes it easier.
One amazing, emotional, historical week. What will you remember most from this week?