Tragedy does one thing to us -- gets us on the same page

As has been the case for the better part of the week, I was home Monday, feeling sick from a flu that had seemingly taken a personal interest in beating my body up from the inside out, and alternating between trying to chase down some sleep and mindlessly playing on my iPad.

A message came across the screen from my news crawler informing me that an explosive had gone off at the finish line of the Boston Marathon. A minute later, the stream popped back on, saying another explosive had gone off, and there were reports of injuries.

Fumbling for a remote control, I clicked on the television and was shocked by the images running across the screen.

I watched the replays of the videos they had on hand of the explosions with a mixture of horror and anger coursing through my body. I saw the blood stains on the street and shook my head as the numbers of casulaties continued to climb. At first, I heard two dead and 12 injured. That climbed to 20 injured. Then 40. As of Wednesday morning, the figures I had seen had soared to three deaths and 183 injured from the blasts.

A nightmare. Plain and simple.

Authorities have been struggling for answers as to who was behind the bombs, and what motive that person or persons might have had. At the time I finally sat down to write this, they could not yet determine if it was done by a foreign presence or domestic. The one thing they were certain of was that this was as an act of terror, and they were going to utilize every resource at their disposal to catch who was ever responsible.

I tried to wrap my mind around the mentality of the coward, or cowards, responsible for this. I figured the goals were to cause as much bodily harm as possible, make as much of a public spectacle as they could muster and to create a sense of fear and terror that would rip us apart at the seams.

Well, they caused harm. And they got their attention. But did they really rip us apart?

Not even close.

I saw Boston police officers jump at the first sounds of the explosions, and then immediately turn to help people who were wounded. I watched race volunteers and paramedics leap into the crowd to provide comfort and aid. I saw runners, at the very end of their 26.2-mile-race turn away from the finish line to aid in helping others.

As I continued to watch coverage, stories came in about runners who continued past the finish line to an area hospital so they could donate blood. Witnesses to the blasts told of people being pushed back into buildings and over crowd barriers from the bombs’ explosions, only to right themselves as quickly as possible so they might provide aid to someone else. I saw photos of former NFL player Joe Andruzzi, the brother of three New York City firefighters, carrying an injured woman to safety.

Rip us apart? Not going to happen.

I watched over the next couple days as celebrities and normal citizens alike shared their love for Boston, and those affected by the bombs. I saw the New York Yankees, prime enemy number one of Boston sports fans, play Neil Diamond’s “Sweet Caroline” — a Boston Red Sox tradition — over their speakers during Tuesday night’s game, and heard thousands of Yankees fans sing along to honor their neighbors to the north. I’ve seen flags flying at half-mast across the country, read sympathetic messages from every corner of this nation and watched our president speak in awe of the deeds of others.

Rip us apart? Good luck with that.

When things get tough in this nation, we tend to often pick sides and go after each other with zeal and enthusiasm. When things get tragic, we throw that trash out the window, forget waiting on help from others and jump in to help our fellow man. We rise together as one, each and every time it looks like we could suffer apart. Check the tape.

Rip us apart? Get lost.