Today at 2:50PM I joined a large crowd outside the MIT Stata Center at the corner of Vassar and Main Streets in Cambridge.
We were there to observe a moment of silence for the victims of the Boston Marathon bombings exactly one week ago and the subsequent violence last Thursday, the dead and the injured.
This is where MIT Police Officer Sean Collier was killed.
The memorial for Officer Sean Collier. Among the flowers, flags, photos, candles, and hard hats were runners' bib numbers.
These events touched close to home. My wife is an operating room nurse at Brigham and Women's Hospital, where a number of victims were taken Monday, 2 miles from the site of the bombing.
She spent that day as a member of the surgical teams operating on them until the hospital stood down from alert status at 8PM. More teams continued through the night there and at other hospitals.
The Akamai Technologies building where I work is on the adjacent corner around the block from where Officer Collier was shot.
As I walked to Vassar and Main, people were converging from all directions. A long line had already gathered, starting at the makeshift memorial for Officer Collier and running for blocks down Vassar. Many of them were MIT students and staff holding "MIT Strong" signs.
I made it as far down the line as Massachusetts Avenue. Then it was time to stop.
When it was over, the police officers manning the intersections thanked the crowd.
It was powerful to see the outpouring of support as we defied the message of terror. Of course it's easy to be defiant when it's not us or our loved ones lying bleeding, but that's the strength of the city and the nation. Those of us who are uninjured care for the fallen and carry on for them.
There will always be the petty disputes among us. That's just human nature. But there will also be strength in the face of adversity. That's also human nature, the best of it.