Friends in Britain sometimes think I live in New England, which is far from the case, though I did visit Boston once, when hubby had some business there. With growing horror, I've been watching the News and realising that we stayed just down the road from the hotel where the first bomb went off. In fact, so far as I can hazily remember, we could easily have stayed there but it was full. I walked past the hotel and across Copley Square several times, doing my tourist thing- old, posh Beacon Hill and the Freedom Trail (I joked about them letting Brits walk it), all that history connected to the American Revolution. How ironic. And hubby used to run marathons. We think we're smug and safe here in our Western New York rural backwater that never makes the News but the world is small and getting smaller. I keep thinking about who who I know in Boston. Who might have been there. You just never know.
I sympathise so much as a Londoner - I can remember the years of IRA bombs - Hyde Park, Harrods, the feeling that you never knew where they would strike next, the shock and tears for the innocent victims. Over and over again. The first thing I've thought of - why didn't they get rid of the litter bins, as they did in London? If it's indeed true that the second bomb went off in one. But they wouldn't have thought of it. So far as I know, nothing like this ever happened in modern Boston. There's a lot of violence in America and of course the ghastly, grand gesture of 9/11 but in general they've been spared this sort of dirty, smaller-scale terrorist stuff in their home country, if not in faraway conflict zones. 9/11 changed their perception but I feel that Americans still have, as a nation, an enduring and endearing optimism and faith in humanity's intrinsic goodness. It makes it all the more sad.