You wake up and look outside...excited about the day to come. You checked the weather 3 times yesterday, but you still need to see it for yourself. Partly cloudy and 60's.
Perfect day to watch the Marathon.
It's still early, the sun barely over the horizon, and yet you can hear your daughter stirring in her room. A small smile creeps over your face. She's excited about today, too.
You sneak into her room and put your face next to her "sleeping" ear. You whisper "you awake?" and she starts giggling. She turns and gives you a big hug.
"I love you, Daddy!".
"I love you, too. Let's go get some breakfast, do some shopping and walk over to the Finish Line."
You hold her hand on the way to the Deli, a favorite of hers, and smile at all of the other kids walking in the street with their parents. Today is a Holiday for the kids of Boston, you hope they have fun out there. Images of frisbees with your father and Red Sox games fill your head.
Today has always been a special day for you. It's always been a special day for your daughter, too.
You pick up a couple of egg, ham and cheese sandwiches at the Deli and head to the shops at Copley Place. You figure it will be a while and it's not that far to Boylston Street.
She decides she wants to shop for Summer dresses, your little girl is growing up. She grabs a few off the rack and twirls for you; you can't help but laugh.
You get some lunch from the food court and begin the crowd-filled walk to the Finish Line. You didn't expect it to be so busy, but everyone is polite, happy and having a good time. There's no pushing, no angry voices, even the cars seem to have lost their horns. You've missed the first finishers by a couple of hours, but there are still a lot of runners coming in.
You lift her onto your shoulders as you make the turn onto Boylston Street, but there's no room, so you move a little ways back from the Line.
Your daughter points and yells "I can see them, Daddy!".
Without warning, you are violently pushed to the ground and your daughter is sent flying from your shoulders. There is smoke and noise and people and wreckage everywhere. The sounds are overwhelming as you lift your head from the ground. You look for her, but can't see through the smoke. People try to help you, but you just want to find your daughter. She couldn't have fallen that far, right?
You run to the pile of chairs, tables and bent gate frames and hope that she's not under there. You start lifting, but it's too heavy. You scream for help, but your voice is lost in the other screams. As you turn your head to look for help, you see the yellow of your daughter's new dress under the wreckage 10 feet away, her hand sticking out from under a chair.
Everything stops. All sound, all movement. Nothing matters but that dress and that hand as you rush over and lift the chair.
She's not moving, she's not breathing, her hair covered in blood. Your daughter's blood. You pick up her limp body and carry her to the police nearby, screaming wordlessly for help. They quickly lay her on a stretcher and try to stop the bleeding. One of them looks at the other knowingly.
Your angel, your princess, the girl you tease every morning and kiss before bed every night is gone. You don't understand, you don't know what to do, you just want her back.
What did she have to do with this? Why did she have to die? What could she have possibly done to offend someone so much that they took her away at 8 years old?
I hope those who would think about perpetrating this kind of act understand the impact. I hope they think about the innocents and reconsider. I hope someone finds those who did this today and holds them to justice.
I hope this never happens again.