In times of crisis, people usually put aside their differences to try to work together for the common good. This was demonstrated after many major tragedies: 9/11, Hurricane Katrina and most recently the Boston Marathon bombings. As the magnitude of this horror became more apparent, people in Boston and throughout the nation came together to support those who were injured and to help find the people responsible. Firefighters and first responders ran to the scene to help transport people to the hospital and treat the injured. The FBI, Boston Police Department and other law enforcement agencies worked together, putting aside their competitive instincts to be the “first ones to solve the crime,” but to solve the crime for the greater good of Boston.
People all over the country were watching what happened after the bombings in Boston. I myself watched the news several times a day in Myer Residence Hall, hoping that the loss of life would not escalate and praying for the families of those who were lost.
However, what we saw in Boston after the bombings was inspiring. People of all races, genders, classes and cultures tried to save the lives of their fellow humans and helped people cope with the tragedy.
Even politics was put aside. President Obama stated in a speech given in Boston after the attacks, “We reaffirmed that on days like this, there are no Republicans or Democrats. We are Americans united in concern for our fellow citizens.” He was absolutely right. However, we must ask ourselves why the politics were put aside. Was it because politicians really felt compassion and unity, or was it because they thought it would hurt them if they tried to use the tragedy for their own political benefit? I’ll leave that for you to ponder.
We have had our own tragedy at Elizabethtown College – hate crimes. Our tragedy isn’t as bad as the Boston bombings by a long shot, but it still provided an opportunity to show that in times of crisis. We can come together and work for the common good. For example, students, instead of ignoring what was happening or leaving it up to the administration, took action. Students and faculty members showed up on a Friday night for a candlelight vigil in honor of the students who have been the victims of hate crimes. Our professors and President Strikwerda did their part to set the right tone and atmosphere on campus. We all came together, for the common good.
No one welcomes a crisis, and we should actually do our best to avoid them. People of good character will try to make the best of bad times. People of good character will try to learn and grow, and most of all, people of good character will try to show their humanity by helping those in need, those less fortunate and vulnerable. Here at Etown, we are an institution that values good character. So when times are difficult, we put aside our differences, be they political or otherwise, and pull together for the common good.