Tuesday, April 16, 2013

We Must Go On

Yesterday, as I was packing up and getting ready for my trip this morning to Philadelphia, where I will be speaking later today at the Graduate School of Professional Programs at Penn State, I happened to turn on the news. I was interested in an update on the Boston Marathon results.

A colleague from INFORMS, whom I had met at a wonderful conference in Yalta, Ukraine, was running as well as an Amherst resident, who is a fellow Brown University alum.

Both are women.

I had run marathons (the Ocean State Marathon in Newport, RI) but never the Boston one and the last time that I was in Boston was in mid-February, to lead the Dynamics of Disasters symposium that I had organized for the AAAS meeting, which took place very close to the end of the Boston Marathon route.

The news at 3PM yesterday was "Breaking News" and now the world knows.

We have gotten messages of concern from as far away as Turkey and phone calls from Washington DC.

Boston is a historical and educational and architectural treasure. It is also a center for sports and innovation. It is a beautiful city.

Boston, to me, is the most European city in the US and who cannot love it?

As more information trickles in, and the Boston Common is now a staging area for the National Guard, and even hospitals are turning away blood donors since they are dealing with injuries that one would see in times of war and are strapped for resources, our hearts and prayers go out to the survivors, the victims, and their families and friends.

I heard from my INFORMS colleague -- she finished the marathon and heard about the attacks as she was on the Green Line trying to make her way back to her hotel. Even cell phone communications were stopped for a while, as well as parts of the public transport network, and even flights at Logan. She, as all of us, was reeling from the horror and the shock. And she had just run over 26 miles in a fabulous time.

My neighbor from Amherst -- I checked online -- made it to the half-way point of the marathon  -- and  no more news.

Resilience is what carries marathoners through their journeys and dreams and we need to be resilient.

This evening, when I speak on Networks Against Time: From Food to Pharma, I will be dedicating my talk to freedom and to those who have lost their lives and suffered horrible injuries because of the unexplainable explosive attacks in Boston yesterday.