BOSTON, APRIL 15, 2013. TOO PAINFUL TO REMEMBER. TOO IMPORTANT TO FORGET.
That is your glory. Now get on about your work, for the hour is late. The task is important and must be done without delay.”
“Each man’s death diminishes me,
For I am involved in mankind”
(“For whom the bell tolls” by John Donne)
The music that lightens your load, one tear at a time.
I was just nine the year I saw my first photos of brave souls playing the ultimate game, betting they could toss a Molotov cocktail with such precision that they could
dismember a tank before that tank could dismember them.
The pictures of this murderous duel were blurred,grainy and distorted. But I knew that the great game for freedom was afoot and that somehow and certainly I was involved.
I knew even then that the bell tolled for me and that I could not ignore it, though there was every temptation to do that. I had yielded to the blindness that is temptation, always transient and unfulfilling, whatever promises it may make.
But the inexorable bell kept tolling and would not be denied…
When it became known the Boston Marathon murderers were in my neighborhood, their next deadly objective not yet clear but sure, the police authorities protected us
by dismantling our freedom. It was called “lock down”, prison talk, no term of liberty.
It may have been necessary, but it was also unsettling to those who have heard the eloquent and most persuasive arguments used for stripping us of liberty, once forfeit, never returned, soon yearned for, forever yearned for, without success or method of
restoral or redemption.
The voice I heard was stern, authoritative and brooked no argument. “Citizens, stay in your homes. Stay away from all windows. Do not attempt to come out until further
instructions are given.” Could they possibly mean me, too, author, commentator, unprejudiced fly on the wall, the man making clear for tomorrow what was happening today?”
Then in the most chilling voice ringing out with these words,
“Dr. Lant, this means you.”
Yes, I was ordered by name. I pulled my hand from the door knob as if it was fiery hot and wondered why I was specifically ordered. I wonder still.
Two days later I tried again, remembering to take the stairs from the penthouse.
What a jolting shock to see a tank nestled in the grass outside my residence…. surrounded by the greatest university on Earth and its proud symbols and sun-kissed insignia, as well as by the temples filled with people who wondered, who begged for the sign which was not given.
I saw the tank, and I saw, in my mind’s eye, the freedom fighters of Hungary give everything for a single shot at the machines which shattered everything, leaving a proud and ancient nation in devastation and lamentation.
And I cried out, sobbing for what we had already lost and the more we would be sure to lose, in the grim and pitiless days to come…. Thus did spring come to Boston in 2013 when the flowers of hope and renewal were at their most beautiful and beguiling.
Why did God leave us so, head bowed, knees in the mud, rancor and
acrid bitterness in our soul? Why?
My recollection of those somber days when life and its paths were altered forever are fading now. I feel a terrible and pressing responsibility to the truth which must not be allowed to expire.
We all have became more mistrusting and wary with similar incidents occurring worldwide.
The rain has washed, the snow has covered, the heat has baked, a million steps have ground all evidence; into the good earth which has dealt with so many outrages before and will do so again.
Maybe this is God’s way after all, submission and resignation being
His tools, though so difficult to make ours. You must judge for yourself
as you review the pages that follow, remembering “No man is an island.”