By Gary Nelson
Senior staff writer
Once again an unthinkable, devastating, horrific tragedy and act of terrorism has rocked our country and the simple, everyday freedoms we all take for granted.
How heartbreaking it was to see the smoke rising and people scrambling everywhere and pure chaos in the hours after the bombings at the Boston Marathon finish line.
People doing what they love, enjoying themselves and cheering on their friends, family and loved ones, innocent bystanders, were critically injured or killed for no other reason than just simply being in the wrong place at the wrong time.
An 8-year-old child who was waiting for his daddy to cross the finish line was one of the three killed.
I personally don't know any of the runners or their families who were participating in the marathon and I don't have any personal connection to the city of Boston, yet my heart aches for all of them who were involved and I still feel violated as an American citizen.
I suspect that's how a lot of people must feel right now — violated.
Make no mistake, in my mind this was a cold, calculated bombing that was organized to strike fear and terror into every American and not just those who were involved with the Boston Marathon.
The finish line is a symbolic place of victory — whether you come in first or last — crossing the finish line is an act of heroism and a personal victory.
These terrorists, no matter where they were from, knew exactly what they were doing by placing these bombs at the finish line. It was an attack against what is a sacred, safe place and against our freedom.
I can't even imagine the pain and horror the victims and their families must be feeling and are going through right now. I hope I don't ever have to and I hope nobody ever has to go through something like this again, but unfortunately, with the way things are in today's world, I highly suspect something awful will happen again.
I hate feeling like this. I am bothered by what these acts of terrorism have done to our country and way of living. I am upset that I feel worried about people attending large events, flying in jets, or just doing normal, everyday activities. It's not supposed to be this way in America.
I'm sure those responsible for the bombing will be caught eventually and punished and hopefully justice will be served, but at what cost?
I cringe, thinking about how the news media will play, replay and regurgitate over and over and over again the tragedy and the names of the people who perpetrated this awful crime.
They deserve no attention, like the shooters who carryout these mass shootings and become icons in the national media. National media — stop giving these cowards a platform!
What does give me some comfort is the way Americans come together in the aftermath of these tragedies and help one and other without considering political beliefs, race and ethnic backgrounds.
Wouldn't it be amazing if we were able to do that ALL of the time and not just in the aftermath of a tragedy?
Sure, we all have our differences — but that is what makes us Americans — the land of the free and home of the brave. We still have each other. We are humans.
The time has come to stand up for one and other, support each other and love one and other — whether bombs are exploding at finish lines or not.
Those bombs may have rocked our country and put another ounce of fear into our lives, but don't let them take away our ability to reason and care for one and other.
Don't let these events ruin our country and our freedom to enjoy what we love to do — weather it's running across a finish line, or walking your dog in the park.
I may long for the care-free America of my youth, but I look forward to the day when we all will come together as people without being in the aftermath of a tragedy. I long for the day when we will all appreciate the world we have and not take our freedoms for granted.
May God be with the victims and their families and may we all be there for each other.
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Gary Nelson is a Crossville Chronicle staffwriter. His column is published each Friday. He may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.