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Protecting the Innocent in Boston


Our grief-stricken city is overcome with gratitude to Boston’s best, our first responders this week.

The question often comes up after a death and the suffering of a loved one, how can God allow this to happen? Well, He doesn’t, but there is evil in the world and those ugly forces are determined to inflict their hatred on innocent people who would never hurt anyone.

Monday, I once again saw the happy and excited faces of innocent fans and spectators at the Boston Marathon, many of them children. I also saw the same expression of fear and panic on my own grandchildren’s faces — they were sitting at the finish line and witnessed this horrific and cowardly act. The pain decent people have for the victims and families will never go away — scenes out of Belfast, Beirut, Tel Aviv, Kabul, London, and New York. I hope we build a permanent memorial to the victims’ wonderful and happy lives right here in Boston. We will never forget them or this day. 

But we also must never forget that America and our values have many violent and despicable enemies who will stop at nothing to inflict their hatred on the freedom-loving people of our country. Protecting innocent Americans and justice must be our highest priority as a nation. That’s what I want to hear.

I’ve often said that the Boston Marathon and Patriots’ Day has always been Boston’s greatest day. Patriotism, sacrifice, and pride, that’s what America is about. It’s where it all began, and Boston is where future generations of immigrants worked hard for that ideal.

This is a setback, yes, but we are more determined than ever to protect our traditions and values. Those responsible for this cowardly act probably never read the history of Boston and what we stand for. We don’t bend to tyrants or terrorists. We are Bostonians and proud Americans. And we pray for those who suffer and work to keep us safe.

— Ray Flynn is former mayor of Boston and U.S. ambassador to the Vatican.