I hadn’t counted on this experience during my Eisenhower Fellowship USA study visit.
Along with residents of neighbouring suburbs, I spent 10 hours in ‘lockdown’ in Cambridge Massachusetts while police hunted nearby for the second bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev.
After flying into Boston late Thursday evening, I woke to news I was not to leave my hotel. It was towards the centre of a search area.
The day’s meetings were cancelled. I spent the day tracking local TV and social media, drinking coffee and and catching up on correspondence.
Roughly an hour after the ‘lockdown’ instruction was lifted, Tsarnaev was located in a boat parked in a Watertown backyard a few kilometres away. By that time, I was out walking the eerily quiet streets. The only thing that punctuated the silence were sirens of speeding police cars heading (Twitter told me minutes later) toward that boat.
There are many affected both directly and indirectly by events, many shocked that terror and its aftermath could happen so close to home. I attended a Church service at the First Congregationalist Church in Cambridge this morning. The preacher offered ‘space away from the glare of media’ for reflection and prayer. The prayers named parish members who knew the suspects, who worked in the hospitals, who lived in nearby streets. Some wept in the pews and gasped audibly as prayers were offered too for the suspects and their families.
Walking into town after the Church service students offered free hugs to passers by. Shop windows and placards everywhere carry the moniker #BostonStrong. The town is slowly coming to life.