Open Letter to the 8-Year-Old Victim in the Boston Bombing

Dear Martin:

Friday evening they captured the 2nd of the two cowards who killed you last Monday afternoon. The news of his capture can't give you more than your 8-and-a-half years, and probably won't make it easier for your family to accept your loss, but your death, and the injuries to your mom and sister, have personalized this tragedy for America more than you’ll ever know.

Seeing your photo and reading about how you were waiting at the finish to cheer your dad hit this grandfather to a 9-and-a-half-year-old very hard. Big smiles; big hearts, not a mean bone in your bodies; every time I see your photo I think of my grandson. While at your ages neither of you guys can easily define patriotism, extremism, or other concepts, you both understand good vs. evil and right vs. wrong and this country saw both on Monday.

As your dad saw, and he and your mom and sister will someday share with you in Heaven, are the stories of the spectators, aid workers, and other runners who ran towards the explosions to help. Your fellow Americans staunched those horrific wounds by hand while others picked up the badly injured and carried them to safety. Your mom and sister survived because of them.

You'd also be proud of the Boston PD and others who worked hard to find the bombers; they worked non-stop until Friday night when the second coward surrendered. But while that's five days too late to help you, you can be assured that you and your great smile will never be forgotten.

The only redeeming feature of this past week was watching how Boston reacted to this senseless tragedy. Carlos Arredondo, "the man in the cowboy hat," vaulted the barriers, picked up a man with both legs blown off and pushed him to an aid station-while clamping an artery by hand so the young man didn't bleed out. A torrent of aid workers and others raced to assist and used direct pressure and impromptu tourniquets to keep the injured alive. That's what makes America and Americans different, it's those who run to the sound of the guns.

And as the week progressed, they kept running. When the Boston PD and FBI asked for any videos or photos taken of the finish line, they were overwhelmed by the response. When the Boston PD needed to lock down the city Friday morning after they and the two bombers engaged in that firefight Thursday night, a million Bostonians cooperated by staying indoors. And Friday night ... who discovered bomber #2? A local citizen who immediately called 911 instead of giving in to the base calls for vigilante justice so prevalent on the internet.

Perhaps the week is best described in the words of one of the officials who addressed the city and the nation in the press conference Monday night: "Today didn’t show America’s weakness; today showed America’s strength."

May those who run to the sound of the guns always be with us.

Article originally appeared on the Truman National Security Project.

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Andrew Lubin

I'm an author and foreign policy-defense analyst who writes on current military operations, international relations, and serves as an advisor to the Truman National Security Project. My work appears regularly in such professional magazines as “Leatherneck”, “The Gazette,” “Jane’s Defense Weekly," and the Huffington Post. I served as the military consultant to Stephens Media Group for their “Valor Series” and wrote for PS's “Regarding War” and U.S. Naval Institute’s “Proceedings.” I'm a member of the Marine Corps Combat Camera Association, and have 14 embeds with USMC in Afghanistan, Haiti, Iraq, Guantanamo Bay, Asia, and Beirut. I'm producing "Bootsteps," a documentary re: Marine ops in Afghanistan, for PBS. My first book, “Charlie Battery; A Marine Artillery Battery in Iraq” won the 2007 Gold Medal for best Military Non-Fiction from the Military Writers Society of America, as well as Best Memoir from the University of Virginia’s “Festival of Books.” I'm a co-author of “Saluting American Valor” along with “Uncle John Salutes the Armed Forces”, which was nominated in 2009 for “Best Anthology” by the Military Writers Society of America. My latest book, “Keep Moving or Die; Task Force Tarawa at An-Nasiriyah” is due out next year. I've appeared on ABC, CNN, CBS, FOX, and Patriot Media, and is a regular guest on VFW’s “The National Defense,” In November 2004 I was the Military Analyst for WPVI (ABC) Philadelphia during Fallujah-2. I've spoken at Princeton's Woodrow Wilson School, the Clinton School, the Thunderbird School of Global Managment, Villanova University, and other universities in the US and Canada. I'm a graduate of Allegheny College, and the Thunderbird School.

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