This photo set off a lot of questions in my mind about terror attacks, physical memorials, the scale of the aggression and also where it occurred. One thing I’m wondering is if there would have been the same intensity of grief and public commemoration if last week’s bombing had occurred at the NY Marathon, given New York’s greater history and experience with terror attacks. (I can’t imagine that lockdown would have been replicated.) I’m also wondering how much the impact on Boston had to do with a first event, bringing not just shock but also loss of innocence. I’m also wondering about the future of the site(s) as Boylston has now been cleaned up and reopened. Do the two spots now becoming hallowed ground?
Also, I’m wondering how much 9/11 established a precedent for the literal marker, and even the term: “ground zero.” A story in the Examiner about the Marathon attack, for example, leads off with the title: “Ground Zero has Shifted,” discussing the implications of the hit happening outside of either New York or DC. The day of the attack, Business Insider‘s headline read: “Boston Police Are Already Calling The Site Of The Marathon Blast ‘Ground Zero’.” There is a quote within from the police scanner notifying: “There is going to be a controlled explosion in the area of Grounds Zero at Boylston.” So now it’s plural.
Indeed, it’s a fascinating photo — though it’s not clear how much it’s informative and documentary or sacred and holy.
(photo: Robert F. Bukaty/AP caption: Flowers rest at the blast site on Boylston Street between Dartmouth and Exeter Streets near the Boston Marathon finish line in Boston.)