..any man’s death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind, and therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for thee. John Donne, 1624.
By Simeon G. Silverio, Jr.
Publisher & Editor
Asian Journal San Diego
The Original and First Asian Journal in America
San Diego, California
April 19, 2013
(Editor’s note: To commemorate the one year anniversary of the Boston Marathon bombing, we are reprinting this article published a year ago)
Like many people, I was glued to the television two days after the Boston Marathon bombings. I was working at home with the computer monitor in front of me while the television set was on its side. I could hear the TV broadcast, as I occasionally watched while working.
The coverage was gripping. The authorities had cordoned off an area where they thought the remaining suspect was hiding in Watertown. It was just a matter of time before they could catch him, and I did not want to miss the moment.
“What a bad time for Heather to be in Boston, huh? my wife casually stated upon walking inside the room.
“What do you mean? I asked back. She was referring to our youngest daughter who worked as an investment analyst in San Francisco.
“She flew to Boston last night to attend school orientation for today and tomorrow.
Heather had been at the Harvard Graduate School of Business in Boston and planned to pursue her Master in Business Administration degree in fall.
“I didnt know that, I said.
Immediately a fathers caring instinct engulfed my being. I was worried for her safety, knowing she was in the eye of a storm. The authorities imposed a lockdown not only in Watertown but also in the surrounding areas including Boston. They were afraid pedestrians roaming the streets might hinder their operations and endanger lives. Nobody was allowed outside. They were also worried there might still be bombs planted all over the city.
I punched my daughters cell phone number to make sure she was safe, but she did not answer. This made me more agitated and helpless.
“She wont answer your call, my wife said. “She just texted me and said shes fine.
Still, worry remained, especially since hours went by without the suspect being caught. At around five in the evening, San Diego time, the authorities gave up and lifted the lockdown.
“Lets go out for dinner, my wife told me. “I didnt cook tonight.
For some reason, I was craving tofu and suggested the Tofu House Restaurant nearby.
I was hesitant to leave, however, for I knew the suspect would be caught soon. The end of the long wait was near. I decided to record the coverage so I could watch the exact moment of his arrest.
Over dinner, my wife checked the Internet in her cell phone: “They got him!
Right away, I called up my daughter. This time she answered.
“Dont worry, Dad, she said. “Im safe.
Her hotel was included in the lockdown, and nobody was allowed out. She spent her day networking with the other incoming students from different places. Since they could not leave, they just hung out in the hotel bar, drinking and getting to know each other.
This reminded me of my experience with my second daughter, Ashley, then attending the Universidad de Alcala in Madrid as part of her Study Abroad Program. She was pursuing a Bachelor of Arts in English and Spanish at the University of California in Berkeley. Terrorists bombed a train in the Spanish city; people died.
“Thats the train I always took whenever I went to town, Ashley told us. “Its good I did not leave the house that day.
Indeed, nobody is safe in the turmoil all over the world these days.
“All you can do is always pray, I keep telling my children.
A day after the Boston tragedy, someone posted in the Internet a message with the famous quote from John Donnes Meditation 17:
“No man is an island, entire of itself; every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main; if a clod be washed away by the sea, Europe is the less, as well as if a promontory were, as well as if a manor of thy friend’s or of thine own were; any man’s death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind, and therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for thee.
Bostonians are not alone in this event. We share and are a part of their grief, for we too are all victims. It could happen to any of us throughout the world.
Someone lamented that our way of life had completely changed since September 11th, 2001. No longer can we feel safe and secure when travelling. We have to submit ourselves to security checks at the airport, despite the inconvenience. A lot of people had complained, especially when bodyscans of passengers were imposed.
While some Americans were not happy with this, Filipinos have more reason to complain. Unlike in the U.S., security checks are imposed in Philippine malls and other public places. Whenever one enters a mall or a big hotel in the country, there are usually two lines: one for males and another for females. There, one must pass through and be subjected to a body search for weapons or other harmful items. This is not true in the U.S., where passengers in American airports are subjected to only one body search before entering the premises. At the Ninoy Aquino International Airport in the Philippines, there are two. First you are searched after entering the airport itself. Then thirty minutes before a plane leaves, the passengers must vacate the holding area and again enter after passing through a second body search.
I personally welcome these body searches; the more they are, the safer I feel. So what if one has to remove his shoes and other metal items in his body as he passes through a metal detector? For me, it is a small price to pay for a guarantee of safety.
People from before didnt have modern conveniences like electric light, automobile, television sets, telephones and cell phones, the computers and the Internet, yet they lived happy lives.
Certainly, occasional body searches do not ruin our lives. Without them, we might witness even more days like September 11th and the Boston Marathon attacks. – AJ