BOSTON — We don’t know whether 8-year-old Martin Richard was killed by a domestic or foreign terrorist at the Boston Marathon. But all Americans tremble in our hearts when we think of the agony experienced by his family, which also endures serious injuries to his 6-year-old sister and his mother.
As a native of the Boston neighborhood where the Richard family resides, I walked the same Dorchester streets that Martin took to the playgrounds.
On Monday, I was back in that neighborhood to meet friends before heading off to Fenway Park for the annual Red Sox Patriots Day game.
On his way to meet us, the friend who scored the Fenway tickets had walked by the Richard family home on Carruth Street.
Later, as we traipsed out of Fenway to the parking lot, 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. Then the television came on. When those initial pictures of the carnage at the marathon finish line appeared, we knew instantly this day had become one of infamy.
I then recalled getting a phone call 18 years ago this week from a high-ranking police official. He advised me that a young man from western New York had just been apprehended and was about to be charged in connection with the Oklahoma City bombing.
I took the next flight to Buffalo that afternoon, rented a car and drove to Lockport, where I found people who had grown up with Timothy McVeigh, the Army veteran who would later be convicted and executed for the massacre, including toddlers, at the Oklahoma City Federal Building.