Discovering Stored Treasures

Discovering Genealogy, One Ancestor at a Time.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Living History- Boston Strong

I am back and I do apologize for the long silence. As you all know, the city of Boston and it's surroundings were under attack.My family and friends were all safe, but this horrendous tragedy touched us in so many ways and brushed our lives very closely. It was difficult for me emotionally to tend to my two blogs and write about family history. Instead, I allowed myself to live through a period which changed the course of history in America. Now that I have taken this pause, and life has returned back to normal, I am ready to return to my blog and my readers whom I have dearly missed.

In researching family history we often turn to the events of history and study how they affected the lives of our ancestors. For example: on July 28th, 1914, my great-uncle Bernard, found himself in the mid-atlantic, as the Austrian-Hungarian Empire declared war on Serbia and WWI broke out. The President Lincoln, the German passenger boat was declared an enemy vessel and seized at Ellis Island. The crew was detained, but luckily for the seventeen year-old Bernard, the passengers were allowed to disembark. (Click here to read more about the President Lincoln) It is rare that we notice when we ourselves brush with history immediately, but living weight of the Boston Marathon bombings did impact in an instantaneous and powerful way. If four or five generations from now, my descendants will wonder how might this event, affected our family's life, they will be able to turn to this blog post and find out.
The President Lincoln

How will this terrorist act change my life in the long run is too early to tell. Will I run the marathon next year? I doubt it. I'm am not a runner tough, like many of my friends, I am thinking about it. Will it be a major turning point in my life? I don't know. In a few years, together with the rest of the country, I will reflect back onto the impact. Today, I can only share my personal perspective in an attempt to make sense of this inexplicable tragedy.

Like other incidents of terror, around the globe, the boston bombings shook our sense of security and instilled fear. Having grown up in Israel, I had much experience with terror and have learned to compartmentalize the fear. When people asked me how you can live in Israel with so much insecurity, I tell them that Israelis always remind themselves that it is much more dangerous to get into one's own car every day, but we do so, almost without a second thoughts. Once chances of dying in a car crash in a lifetime, is much higher than dying from a terrorist attack, even in a place like Israel. But, the explosions on Boylston street, and the "shelter in place" order which followed while the Tsarnaev brothers were being chased, did not make me think of Israel. It made me think of Cuernavaca, Mexico.

As some of you may know, my family and I lived in Cuernavaca for almost thirteen years. We returned to the Boston area, because of the worsening security situation in Mexico. The Drug war, struck Cuernavaca very intensely in December of 2009. My husband and I, were caught in the crossfire, as a now deceased drug lord, was attempting to escape the Mexican army which had him cornered. Not unlike the Tsarnaev brothers, the Narcos (drug lords), were heavily armed. They used machine guns and grenades to try and escape. This incident took place five blocks from our house, and we happened to be driving by.

Many critics of the police response to the terrorist attack here in Boston, claimed that it was over kill. The entire cities of Boston, Watertown and their surroundings were in a type of lockdown. Nine thousand agents were involved in catching one nineteen year-old kid. Swat teams entered all the homes in a twenty block radios. People are worried about America become a police state. They are worried about losing their freedoms and their rights.

From my perspective, I feel blessed to be living in America. In Mexico, one of the biggest drug dealers  (describe by CNN not as a big fish, but as one of the world's 50 whales) was being pursued by the Mexican army. He was not alone. He was armed and had the support of one of the best equipped "private armies" of drug dealers supporting him. The after a five day pursuit  the army surrounded him in a residential neighborhood. Those who lived in the building, were taken into lockdown, but the rest of the neighborhood, had no idea this operation was taking place. Four hours later, there  was no emergency response system, no streets were blocked and no cars turned away. There was an army presence and tanks guarding the city, but neither the governor of Morelos nor the President of the country, communicated with the public. Our lives were put in danger, because of incompetence. We were not informed, not warned of known dangers and not protected.

As scary as the Marathon Bombings experience was, the response, from first responders to last, was unbelievable! The coordination of the different agency, the organization on all levels, the cooperation between civilians, businesses and law enforcement, the medical personnel! All of it was unprecedented, first rate and exceptional! Even at the worst moments, the authorities took the time to inform the public! I felt safe and protected! Precautions were taken, lives were saved and Boston is stronger than ever!

See you on the next post, which will be about genealogy!


  1. Smadar, I completely understand your need to decompress and take time to emotionally try to recover from the situation. I also think it's interesting to hear your perspective based on your past life events. Thank you for sharing and I love having you back. ;)

    1. Thanks Heather! Glad to be back and feeling recharged! Looking forward to our ongoing conversations about genealogy!

  2. So after being caught in the crossfire during a hunt for this whale of a Mexican drug lord, you return to Boston--only to be terrified again by the bombings during the Marathon. I'm so sorry--what an awful coincidence. Maybe it's true that in all our lives, in this global age, we are learning to expect terror as "the new normal." Or maybe this is just a phase society is passing through.

    There is an ancient Latin phrase "homo homini lupus," meaning "Man is a wolf to man." I'm always astonished at the cruelty people are capable of against other people. It's mind-boggling. I agree that the Boston authorities came through with flying colors. We are grateful, even here in Connecticut, which feels very close to Boston.

    1. Life does work in mysterious ways Mariann, doesn't it! We've felt support pouring from all over the country and the world, especially the neighboring community of Connecticut whom has also suffered senseless loss lately! Thanks, Marrian.


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