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Rob Horowitz: How The Boston Marathon Tragedy Brings Us Together

Tuesday, April 23, 2013


This past weekend’s Sunday shows sounded the tentative notes of our politics returning to its usual level of contention as attention began to turn from the carnage caused by the Boston Marathon bombings and the successful manhunt for the two bombers to the political implications of this evil act.

With the citizens of Boston now safe, pundits and politicians debated what impact-–if any–this new act of terrorism would have on national issues such as comprehensive immigration reform and gun control. They also argued over whether Dzhokhar Tsarnaev should be classified as an enemy combatant and subject to interrogation by the military and provided some Monday morning quarterbacking on whether the FBI fell down on the job by not continuing to track the older brother, Tamarlan after interviewing him in 2011 about his possible terrorist ties and sympathies. The interview was prompted by a tip from Russian intelligence sources.

But before we move on too quickly, it is important to take a minute and appreciate the all too rare moment of national unity evoked by this tragedy. For while the difficult events of last week played out, the harsh political finger-pointing and loud voices that too often dominate the national conversation faded into the background replaced by the moving images of Americans pulling together. From hearing Yankee fans sing Sweet Caroline, to watching Marathon runners rush to Boston hospitals to give blood to injured victims, to witnessing the residents of Watertown applaud the police and other first responders after the capture of the younger Tsarrnaev brother–we all saw America at its best.

In times of tragedy, we remember what binds us together and in a nation founded on ideas and dreams–not a common nationality–this ability to draw on what unites us is all the more essential. President Obama eloquently made this point when he spoke Thursday during an interfaith service at a church in Boston’s South End. “And that’s what the perpetrators of such senseless violence-these small stunted individuals who would destroy instead of build and think somehow that makes them important-that’s what they don’t understand. Our faith in each other, our love for each other, our love for our country, our common creed that cuts across whatever superficial differences there may be—that is our power. That’s our strength.”

We must also continue to remember and assist the many victims of this senseless act. More than 170 people were wounded and 3 people killed by this bomb attack. Given Rhode Island’s proximity to Massachusetts some of the carnage has hit close to home. Kevin Corcoran–one of my wife’s classmates at North Kingstown High School–was particularly impacted. His daughter Sydney and wife Celeste were badly injured in the blast and will require expensive long-term care. Celeste lost both of her legs below the knee and Sydney is now able to walk using a walker, but is still likely to have a extended recovery period. More than $600,000 has already been raised, but much more is needed (Click here to support the Celeste & Sydney Recovery Fund).

It is by remembering that we are all in this together, honoring the lives of the innocent victims and assisting the wounded in recovering that we demonstrate our strong national purpose, show the terrorists our spirit remains undiminished,and live up to the dream and promise of America.

Rob Horowitz is a strategic and communications consultant who provides general consulting, public relations, direct mail services and polling for national and state issue organizations, våarious non-profits and elected officials and candidates. He is an Adjunct Professor of Political Science at the University of Rhode Island.


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