Op-Ed: Roots in New York, Heart in Boston


Today, I was sitting in CAS, waiting for my class to begin. The mood of the events that have transpired over the past 24 hours was tangible. We’re still in shock.

Sirens from police cars and emergency vehicles blared down Comm Ave. What would be a normal sound in a city now rubs salt in all of our invisible wounds. The room became silent of idle chatter and many people slowly turned their heads towards the windows, as if awaiting the worst yet remaining hopeful for the best.

Before coming to Boston, I had a New York state of mind about everything. New York culture and attitude, its sports, its food, its way of life. I thought nothing could compare.

But upon arriving here during the fall of 2010, a city that I felt would never truly be my home secured a spot in my heart, one that will always remain.

Tragedy struck Boston yesterday, on a day that has always been about celebration.

What remains now, a day later, is mourning, reflection, pride, and hope.

The race to the finish line. | Photo by Allan Lasser

Boston has seen me at my best and at my worst, and now it’s my turn it see this little but charming and boisterous city that I love in the same light. While the negative outcomes of this tragedy are unspeakable, grave, and sobering, there have been powerfully courageous bursts of light that have still managed to shine through this darkness. Boston has never let me down and I will never let it down. I am a Bostonian in my heart, mind, and soul, just as much as I am a New Yorker. What once would be a conflicting matter is irrelevant in times like these- they show us that city, sports, and academic rivalries are insignificant. Love, compassion, empathy and understanding are as strong as we allow them to be right now.

As I sit here and reflect on both the heinous and courageous acts that took place yesterday, I remember growing up amidst the terror that unfolded in my native state.

I was in fourth grade when 9/11 occurred. I remember we were told to sit in the middle of the rug in a circle with our classmates and to remain quiet. The lights were turned off and the blinds were drawn; the only light that peeked into the classroom came through the slits in the window shades. We were told we couldn’t go near the windows. At the time, I had no idea what the World Trade Center was, even though my hometown is just under a marathon away (25.6 miles, exactly). Sometimes to this day, when I hear a plane flying low and I look up, memories from being 10 years old and being scared and confused come to mind.

Will this be the same with the events that have transpired this Marathon Monday? Will we flinch at every loud bang, or stiffen for each siren that blares? Will we walk through Copley and have in mind bombs and bloodshed? Or will we think of the bravery that Bostonians have shown?

We have all been shaken, but Boston remains as resilient as ever. A horrific act will never stop this city from moving forward; it will only propel it further.

Marathon Monday is ultimately about people running to keep a dream alive, no matter what it may be. But on this Monday, people stopped running. Instead of running in the face of evil, we Bostonians stopped and looked it straight in the eyes. The people of Boston don’t give up, and will never stop fighting. I am proud of the city I live in, the city I call my home.

About Aria Ruggiero

Aria is a Junior in CAS studying Psychology. She enjoys writing and photographing for the Quad, as well as having an unhealthy obsession with guacamole, blazers, and the Yankees.

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