Sometimes, I am amazed by the beauty of the human soul. I just ran across two stories from the April 15th bombing at the Boston Marathon that took my breath away.
At the site of the second bombing, in front of the Forum Restaurant on Boylston St., bystanders and first responders worked frantically to save the lives of the injured. One man took off his belt to stop the bleeding from 10-year-old Martin Richard. Nearby, BU student Lu Linzhi lay mortally wounded. At some point, it was clear that both had expired from their wounds. But crime scene protocol dictated that the bodies be left as evidence, to the horor of family and friends. At this point, unimaginable tragedy was transmuted into nobility:
The Richard family also paid tribute to the several officers who stood guard over Martin’s body on Boylston Street after the bombing. The bodies of Martin and Lu Lingzhi remained on the site until about 2 a.m. the following day while officers gathered evidence and preserved the crime scene, said a police official.
The officers covered the bodies with tablecloths from restaurants. Bill Richard was distraught at the thought of leaving his son there, but officers offered to watch over him, said the source. “Those officers will never know how comforting that was in our very darkest hour,” the family said.
Boston police Captain Frank Armstrong was one of those who stood vigil.
“There were several officers who stood watch over Lingzhi and Martin throughout the night to ensure they were never left alone out of respect for both them and their grieving families,” Armstrong said. “If these actions brought any measure of solace to the Lu and Richards family, we were honored by their sacrifice to have done so.”A day which began in wanton killing and mutilation ended in respect and honor. It is mind-boggling to belong to species capable of such brutality and such grace.
The second story involves the first bombing scene, near Marathon Sports, just past the marathon's finish line. Here were better-documented scenes of carnage and bloodshed, of stunned disbelief and limb-shattering injury. But here, too, was healing. Three dancers from the Paulist Center performed a liturgical dance on the one month anniversary of the bombing.
Then, at 2:50 p.m., the time when two homemade bombs detonated here April 15, a remembrance graced the sidewalk. Three dancers from the Paulist Center, a Catholic organization on Park Street, used the emotive language of movement to acknowledge the area’s lingering grief while also reclaiming the space.
“We wanted to offer a blessing at the spot,” said Christine Monterio, director of dance at the Paulist Center. “It’s a very natural response for all of us.”Think what you will about liturgical dance. But the impulse to reclaim a piece of bloodied ground from the life-denying forces of fear was another moment of grace and beauty -- not by obliterating images of pain and loss, but transforming them into bearable memory.
For these moments of truth, beauty and grace, we pray to the Lord.
Thanks be to God.