We don’t know whether 8-year-old Martin Richard was killed by a domestic or foreign terrorist. But all Americans tremble in our hearts when we think of the agony now being experienced by the family of this Boston boy killed at the Marathon finish line.
As a native of the same Boston neighborhood where the Martin family resides, I walked the same Dorchester streets that Martin took to get to the playgrounds. I played on little league teams in the same parks where Martin was learning the fundamentals of baseball.
On Monday, a Massachusetts state holiday commemorating the valor of those who fought in the American Revolution, I was back in that neighborhood to meet friends before heading off to Fenway Park for the annual Red Sox game on Patriots Day.
On his way to meet us, the friend who scored the Fenway tickets had walked by the Richard family home on Carruth Street.
Getting together with the guys you grew up is always a special treat. And the day was made more glorious by the fact it was both Jackie Robinson Day and Patriots Day rolled into one. Our moods were further uplifted when the Sox defeated the Tampa Bay Rays in dramatic fashion, with a walk-off double off the Green Monster, with two outs in the bottom of the ninth.
As we traipsed out of Fenway to the parking lot where our driver had parked his van, we passed Boston Police officers on motorcycles and cruisers. They smiled at the passersby and nodded in appreciation when people gave them a wave. There was no sense of the impending calamity just blocks away on Boylston Street.
A half hour later, we were back in Dorchester, having lunch at a restaurant in the old neighborhood. Then the television came on. When those initial pictures of the carnage at the Marathon finish line were shown, we knew instantly that this was no longer a day of great joy.