OpEd

Story published: 04-23-2013 • Print ArticleE-mail Story to a Friend

Always be aware, always be free

By Jack Van Zandt

We are all “Bostonians” now.

As with tragedies such as Boston and 9/11, we all pull together.

Nobody asked about political, racial, cultural or religious backgrounds. You simply saw people helping people, running into the bombed area doing what was needed to preserve life under fire.

Others were doing what they could to console, assisting and comforting victims until medical help arrived. Doctors report that many lives were saved by people who applied basic first aid in a very difficult environment.

Acts of kindness were legion. After the dust settled, whole communities came together to help the family members.

Having and following a plan saved many lives.

EMS personnel followed a protocol of triaging the injured, and then sending victims to hospitals in a manner that ensured that no single hospital would be overwhelmed with too many patients, or too many of the seriously wounded. This ensured all patients received timely care.

Acts of solidarity abounded. In the opening to the Yankees/Boston Red Sox game on the day following the bombing, the Yankees played the Red Sox theme song, “Sweet Caroline.” Then the Red Sox players lined up on the first base line, and the Yankees players, wearing the number “42” in honor of Jackie Robinson’s effort to break the color barrier, lined up on the third base line, to observe a moment of silence for those in Boston.

What a great tribute to both.

In the outfield was a sign showing the logos of these rival teams in a circle, together. And at New York City Hall, you saw the Boston City flag flying.

Also, important is defiance, standing against the cowards, not letting them get us down.

One of the first things Boston did was schedule the marathon for next year.

The baseball games went on as scheduled, and a huge billboard overlooking Boston was put up with one word, “COWARD.”

The morning after the attack, former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani observed, “It’s surprising there haven’t been more of these since Sept. 11th.”

As Rep. Adam West and others have said, we have to be right 100 percent of the time; the bombers only have to be right once.

America is great because America is free.

This incident reminds us that freedom is not free, and freedom is always a target. Therefore, America will always be a target.

For that reason, we all need to be vigilant wherever we travel and while attending any event.

Our police force, as good as it is, is not able to see everything all the time.

Is there a bag or box that is unattended? Report it. Does something look suspicious? Report it.

Do you know how to get away from your location if you are at an event? Do you have a back up plan? Do you have a plan to meet up with family or friends if separated?

Let’s always be aware and always be free.