These are the thoughts that roil in my head as I watch the rain come down on the night streets outside of my German hotel. As the rain washes along the pavement, I see the blood of the victims run along the streets. Blood from the images; horrific images etched in my brain from last night. Images that hypnotized me, as they did millions of others, until late in the evening. Too late.
The blood and the rain run together outside my window and I can’t free it from my mind. What about the minds of those that were there?
Knowing, full well, that the rain will never wash away everything. Among the lives and limbs lost yesterday, was something else lost, the loss of innocence. Had I not flown out a day earlier, what then?
I had stood in that exact same spot a year before, cheering and waving - overcome with emotion, with joy, with pride. My daughter, placed securely on my shoulders, and my second daughter to be born a month later. Together, cheering on the heroes of the day. 40,000 hearts beating as one. Patriots Day. Only now, a year later, how could my emotions be so different? Sad. Angry. Helpless.
Would I have been in that same sunny spot? The perfect vantage point to cheer on our heroes of the day? A short walk from our home. Would my daughter be safe on my shoulders or down playing with her little sister? Vulnerable. Would our cheers turn to tears? These are questions that don’t need to be answered. I know the frightening answer. What I don’t know the answer to is Why? Why?
I write today, as I’m an author, and this is my form of therapy. Yet, this piece, I will not read for typos and grammatical errors. The emotion will be too great for me to read again. Emotions. Police sirens scream outside my hotel window, yet they sound different from those back home. How did the sirens sound yesterday? Helpful? Hurtful? Both?
Will I take my daughters down to the race…next year? I don’t know. And that is a tragic answer. Not as tragic as the lives and limbs lost yesterday. And, if I don’t take my daughters next year, did they win? Who are they?
So many questions. Who has the answers? I will take my daughters next year, otherwise the victims will have suffered in vain. I will not let them win. Who is them?
My daughters need to stand up to them, even though one can’t stand. She will stand on day soon. Yet, some runners can’t stand this morning or tomorrow. But, we will all stand, stand together, stand united.
Though it will be painful, as Americans, this is what we do best. In the darkest hour we stand together.
Why? Because this is what makes America great. I should be signing the hundreds of books placed in my room and preparing for my speech tomorrow, but one can’t do that, not when your heart is hundreds of miles away. Not when tears fall onto the pages. I may be in Berlin today, but my heart and tears are in Boston. Tears. Why?
The sun is up outside my window now. Although it will struggle to do so, in a few hours, the sun will rise again in Boston. United. The good outnumber the bad, always have, and always will.
God Bless Boston, and God Bless America.
- SocialnomicsFounder, present
- Education FirstGlobal Vice President of Online Marketing, 2011
- GM, AT&T, Yahoo, EarthLink, Travelzoo
Called a Digital Dale Carnegie, Erik Qualman is the author of Socialnomics: How social media transforms the way we live and do business. Socialnomics made Amazon's #1 Best Selling List for the US, Japan, UK, Canada, Portugal, Italy, China, Korea and Germany.
Socialnomics was a finalist for the "2010 Book of the Year" awarded by the American Marketing Association. Qualman produced "Social Media Revolution" [http://bit.ly/9NZuOh] which is the most watched social media video in the world. Fast Company Magazine listed him as a Top 100 Digital Influencer.
Qualman is a frequently requested International speaker and has been highlighted in numerous media outlets including: BusinessWeek, The New York Times, WSJ, Mashable, USA Today, Financial Times, Forbes, Fortune, CBS Nightly News, and The Huffington Post. He has been fortunate to share the stage with Julie Andrews, Al Gore, Tony Hawk Sarah Palin, Jose Socrates (Prime Minister of Portugal), Alan Mulally (Ford CEO), Lee Scott (CEO/Chairman Walmart), and many others.
Qualman is an MBA Professor at the Hult International Business School. For the past 16 years Qualman has helped grow the digital capabilities of many companies including Cadillac, EarthLink, EF Education, Yahoo, Travelzoo and AT&T. He is the founder and owner of socialnomics.com which PC Magazine ranked as a Top 10 Social Media Blog. He sits on the Advisory Boards of Manumatix, ShopVisible and Bazaarvoice Inc. Qualman holds a BA from Michigan State University and an MBA from The University of Texas. He was Academic All-Big Ten in basketball at Michigan State University and still finds time to follow his beloved Spartans while living in Boston with his wife and daughter.
Qualman has recently advised/given keynotes with the following: Coach, Facebook, UGG Australia, Starbucks, M&M/Mars, Cartier, Montblanc, TEDx, Polo, UGG Australia, Nokia, Google, and more. Qualman gave the commencement address to the 2011 graduating class of McCombs Business School (University of Texas).
- McCombs School of Business
- University of Texas (MBA)