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Sarah Maxwell

The world changes us

I had just walked into a little ice cream shop in La Villita in San Antonio, Texas, with my mom. We had spent the morning wondering around the Riverwalk, taking a river cruise and exploring San Antonio when we realized we were rather thirsty and could use a little snack to help tide us over until dinner.

I had discovered the deliciousness of Blue Bell ice cream earlier in our trip and was excited to get a scoop of that cold, sweet treat. We ordered our ice cream and sat down.

There was a TV in the corner of the parlor showing CNN. I didn’t pay much attention to it. This was my week to avoid all news. I had disabled my AP News, USA Today and New York Times apps. At that time, it was a struggle to go even a day without constant news updates. Mom and I had made a promise to just enjoy our week in sunny Texas with no interference from the outside world. We figured the world would just keep on turning. I guess you could say we were a little naive in our thinking.

It took me only a few minutes to re-establish my connection to my news sources when I realized the breaking news CNN was covering was not a new update from Syria or some other far flung part of the world submerged in war and conflict. It was focused on Boston and the terror which had just rained down on the athletes, spectators and volunteers.

Our initial plan had been to take a few minutes to eat our ice cream and continue on our merry way back into the gorgeous sunshine. Instead we sat there, in the little ice cream shop, with a few others for more than an hour watching the news unfold.

We listened as the stories of heroism and bravery of those who ran toward the chaos to help others became known. It wasn’t just emergency personnel; it was volunteers, spectators and other runners trying to help calm those whose limbs were missing and whose bodies were mangled with shrapnel from the two pressure-cooker bombs placed in the stands at the finish line.

In the days following we watched as the authorities searched for answers and hunted down suspects until they caught those responsible in Watertown, Mass., a few days later.

This last week, the stories of those impacted on that fateful day poured in, and we saw their triumphs. Some chose to participate in the marathon or in the other events leading up to the 26.2-mile race. Security was tightened along the course. I’m sure many thought about where they were at the same time last year.

There are moments in our lives which never leave us. Things happen which alter our very existence and how we view the world. For me I will always remember where I was when the towers fell, and I will always remember the shock of the events at the Boston Marathon.

We finished our ice cream, left the cozy little shop and headed back out into the Texas sunshine well aware that hundreds of miles away people were suffering, worried about their loved ones. We made sure to be a little more grateful for our time together that day and every day since.

BCR Copy Editor Sarah Maxwell can be reached at smaxwell@bcrnews.com.