The Boston bombing isn’t something that we’d planned to blog about . . .
It’s something that we can’t comprehend here at OM®, and anyway, what more is there to be said on the subject? It’s too close to home, too soon after Newtown, too distressing to discuss. But then, like innumerable people the Earth over, we saw the picture. Not the devastation and destruction, not the explosion itself, nor the panicking people or the smoke billowing from the buildings.
The photograph to which we refer is one that seems certain to become the defining image for Monday’s inexplicable events. It’s the one that we’ve chosen to use to illustrate this post. It’s the one that, we suspect, will be ingrained on our consciousness for ever more.
It’s one that shows Martin Richard, a fun-loving boy, holding up a poster that he’d made one morning at Neighborhood House Charter School in Dorchester, Massachusetts. The slogan is simple. ‘No more hurting people,’ it reads. ‘Peace’.
Martin, aged just eight, loved sports. He played soccer and basketball and liked to ski. Like most eight-year-olds, he enjoyed riding his bicycle. His friends reckon he told a mean knock-knock joke. He had a soft spot for ice cream. Indeed, he’d been eating one in Boston just three days ago. The planet was a different place then, somewhere better for his presence. Martin understood people and oozed kindness and compassion. Martin believed in connection. Martin set an example.
‘If someone [at school] had been left out, he’d go up to them and ask if they’d like to join his group. He stuck up for kids,’ said one classmate.
‘He’d always try to work things out – even if it wasn’t his business, he’d try to make things better,’ added another. ‘He’d bring us joy and laughter and would always try to turn a sad moment into a happy moment.’
For all those who knew Martin – and for those who didn’t – there haven’t been many sadder moments than this. Outside the family’s home in Dorchester, a candle burns and someone – a neighbor, perhaps – has chalked a single word on the sidewalk. ‘Peace’, it reads.
The other night, Boston Bruins fans draped a T-shirt bearing Martin’s name over a statue of an idolized former player, whilst classmates signed a soccer ball and delivered it to Bill Richard, Martin’s father, whose wife Denise and six-year-old daughter Jane were amongst the injured. In a short statement, Martin’s school described him as being ‘beloved . . . bright and energetic’ and admitted, ‘We are heartbroken by this loss’. So too are we.
There are not enough people in this world like Martin Richard and now their number is one fewer.
Here at OM®, we mourn his loss and his family’s pain, just as we mourn the others killed, injured or otherwise affected and just as we continue to grieve for the people of Newtown. There are no answers, only questions and we have no pronouncements to make or judgments to deliver. We just want to recognize Martin Richard for being such an incredible individual, note that our world is a worse place for his loss, demonstrate our support and spread a little love.
We also want to share a message that, this morning, is more apt than ever and to point out that the best way to honor Martin is to make his dream come true. The message is this:
No more hurting people. Peace.