At 3 o'clock last Monday, I was sitting on a couch in the Rolling Green apartment complex, chatting with two of my friends in between homework assignments. It was beautiful outside. From my spot in the living room, I could see residents relaxing in the grass across the street as their children played basketball on the sidewalk.
Then came the news. It trickled in slowly from across the state as news of explosions at the Boston Marathon came in online bursts of 140 characters. As articles confirming injuries followed, both my mom and uncle battled failing cell phone service to confirm I wasn't in the city.
We weren't really sure how to react. As thoughts of "who do I know in Boston? Are any of my friends running the Marathon?" flooded my head, silence flooded the living room, broken only occasionally to offer an update aloud.
This Thursday, I watched my peers unite in the face of the assault on the city many know as home. The theme that showed throughout the UMass Amherst community's Run for Boston was one of strength in the face of tragedy, mourning for the lost while celebrating a strong unity in the Boston community.
The race, which stretched 2.62 miles from the Mullins Center to North Pleasant then back again, was filled with runners sporting Boston t-shirts and blue and yellow.