Tragedy is a tool for the living to gain wisdom, not a guide by which to live. – Robert Kennedy
The bird song in the dark tells me dawn is not far away, a reminder that the longer brighter days of spring are here. After a long hard winter, a time of renewal. And it is warm this morning, t-shirt and shorts; it is freeing.
It feels so good to run. Yes I have a busy hectic challenging day in front of me, but running clears my head and prepares me mentally for the day. And at this glorious time of day, when the world is shared with only birds and my thoughts, everything truly does seem okay.
But at AE O’Block Junior High, in the burgeoning daylight, the flag is at half mast. It stops me in my tracks. So caught up in my own traumas that I forget the horrible events of the previous day, until this powerful reminder…
I cannot comprehend. Can anybody?
But I do understand that people are in pain now, incomprehensible, shocking, how-can-this-be pain. To varying degrees we are all shocked and saddened, for it is not a stretch to think that it could have been us or a dear loved one in that wrong place at the wrong time.
But we were not. We are still here, for reasons that just as incomprehensible. We are alive, and we have no choice but to keep moving; despite the pain, despite the fact that it feels like the world should have stopped. We go on. It is our duty to life. And even on tragic days, life is still beautiful, the birds still sing, and the sky is still painted pink behind the stars and stripes at half mast.
So run. Keep running. Stunned and saddened, but still moving.
And on days like these, when it requires extra effort, reach down deep…
The entire inside of my right thigh is still black and blue and yellow from a severe muscle tear suffered weeks ago when I thought I could still squat like I used to in college. I could barely walk for a while. I should not be running this morning.
But I am alive. I am moving again. I am running. I am healing…
As a mark of respect for the victims of the senseless acts of violence perpetrated on April 15, 2013, in Boston, Massachusetts, by the authority vested in me as President of the United States by the Constitution and the laws of the United States of America, I hereby order that the flag of the United States shall be flown at half-staff until sunset, April 20, 2013. – Barack Obama