Saturday, March 24, 2018

Gut Wrenching

No, it's not the anniversary of that event, that's still a few weeks off. But Friday night I watched the film, the DVD cover for which is depicted above.

Honestly, I couldn't go see it when it was released. I was afraid of how I might react in a theater, around other people. I wanted to wait until I could watch it in the privacy of my home.

I knew that my reaction to the film would be, let's just say, emotional.

I knew folks who were there.

A colleague from work lost her leg.

A friend from work knew MIT police officer Sean Collier, knew him well. And honestly, I couldn't help it, when the actor portraying Sean was first shown, I had to pause the film. This wasn't some fictional tale, Sean was a real guy. Believe me, there was another scene in that film where I couldn't control the tears. I had to get up and walk about for a bit.

It was five years ago, but the emotions are still strong.

The film was very well done.

It was gut wrenching and at times painful to watch. A lot of emotions from that time came flooding back.

I really lost it when they finally evacuated the body of the little guy who died there, Martin Richard. I'd heard of what happened at that time, seeing it enacted on film...

Yeah, I lost it...

I wrote about those lost back when it happened. All those emotions came flooding back.

If you haven't seen this film, do so.

It says a lot about Boston and, by extension, New England, for Boston really is the heart and soul of this region.


I am emotionally drained.


  1. I guess I wasn't reading your blog when you did the earlier post. I will put that movie on my ' to be watched ' list.

    Thanks for the post.
    Paul L. Quandt

    1. Be prepared, it's not easy to watch. However, it is true to the story and to the men and women who were there.

  2. It was very difficult for hubby and I both. But behind the heartbreak there was swelling pride for our people that go forth and put their live4s on the line every day. Today I am saddened and proud of the French officer who gave his life for a stranger...what an astounding story. Thank you to all who serve.

    1. Expect to see something about that French officer in this space tomorrow. Such bravery cannot go unremarked.

    2. Definitely not... I cannot fathom the courage that this man, and many like him display. A movie that gets me everytime is Gallipoli (being an ex-Aussie). How those guys got up out of those trenches, knowing they were going to die is just beyond me.

    3. Same here. My great great uncle was there, in the Royal Scots Fusiliers, one of the Territorial Battalions. He survived that fight only to die in Palestine with Allenby. He's buried in Gaza.

  3. I totally understand as I am that way watching 9/11 stuff. I knew folks that were lost when the Towers fell, and I know a bunch of firefighters who went and worked on the pile after. I have family in Boston who go to watch and run in that marathon every year. They were lucky that year, they were at the starting line instead of the finish line. Glad to hear that the film is true to the facts, not glorifying one side or the other. I hate when that happens!
    The only good thing about any of these terror events is the stories about the regular folks who step up and help out. Makes me have hope for the country as a whole.

    1. Completely agree with your last, it's what makes me an optimist. Still.

  4. Like watching "Tora, Tora, Tora." Or the first 30 minutes of "Saving Private Ryan." Sometimes we need to see the real horror of the world, rather than the fake world that is pumped down our collective throats by the media, Hollyweird and our 'political betters.'

    What my wife and I call "Great but watch only once" movies.

    Not looking forward to watching it, but looking forward to watching it, if you know what I mean.

    And yeah, we have watched all the shows on 9/11. "9/11: The Falling Man" is the one that really just got me (took three hours to watch a 1:20 hour show.) Though if "Boatlift" ever comes back on, I'll make sure to watch that on the tv (rather than on computer, bigger screen and better sound does make a difference.)

    1. I agree on the Tora, Tora, Tora (my fav movie) and Saving private Ryan....put a whole new perspective on war. I only watched the World Trade Center once...that was a very tough one to watch; Taking Chance - well, I was pretty much a basket case the whole way through, and can't watch it again.

    2. Andrew - copy all. I can't really watch anything about 9/11. My son had just been commissioned into the Navy and his two sisters would follow.

      I mean, I watched a lot of that day live. I've stood at the Pentagon where the flight went in, know guys who lost friends there. My company lost four guys on board the aircraft that went into the Trade Center. It's just too real for me I guess. Perhaps it's the scale of the loss and the realization that we were embarked on a struggle for our very survival, though many don't get that.

    3. Finandel UTSC, I've tried to watch Taking Chance, I just can't. Perhaps one day...

    4. I watch the 9/11 stuff not because I like it, but because I never ever ever want to forget what was done to us. And, yes, I know people that have forgotten, or just don't care to remember. Though the engineering aspects behind the attacks effects are interesting, in a 'watch the trainwreck' way. And anything that busts the chops of the conspiracy whackjobs is a bonus. (Seriously, there is one website that I used to go to occasionally for funny memes that I have just stopped going to because of the whole 'insiders imploded the towers and pentagon attacked by a missile' bullscat. Seriously. Right up there with Apollo 1 and the moon landings were faked. Some people just need to be hit in the head with a ballpean hammer, repeatedly, until I feel better.)

      "Taking Chance" sounds definitely like a 'good but watch once' movie. The section of "We were Soldiers" where the telegraph guy is lost and the commander's wife takes over the duty just, well, good movie, watch it once or twice.

      "Flag of Our Fathers" is another one. Having lived on an island that was basically blown away, yeah, anything Iwo Jima is just hard to watch, you know?

      Anything with a flag-covered coffin or a missing-man formation in it just makes me cry. (Yes, including the episode of SEALS where the team walks by the warehouse with the coffins of the fragged team they are replacing. I know it's TV, but I still blubber like a school-girl.)

    5. I get that Andrew. And your last bit, yeah, me too.

  5. I got my B.S. in Biology at the Institute and lived about a block and a half from the Marathon finish line. That was back in the day when some of the finishers would go an extra block or two and rehydrate at Daisy Buchanan's. My daughter lives in the area. She decided to go to the finish line to see a friend of hers finish. She didn't get there in time to see it - which was fortunate, as her friend finished, stopped, walked to the medical tent, sat down for her post-race checkout and heard the bombs go off. Had she taken another 3 minutes to finish the race .... My daughter was on the Green line when it stopped. They then inched forward to Kenmore (near Fenway Park) and told everyone to get off. Had she been (uncharacteristically) on time ....

    I had a hard time watching that film. For those not familiar with Boston, I will tell you that the thing that struck me most authentic about the film was the anger people felt. It wasn't just the law enforcement personnel. It was the entire city. That was the prevailing emotion; not fear, but anger. Attacking the Marathon was attacking the soul of Boston itself. Remember the scene when the locals told the FBI they didn't want the description of the bomber released because anyone matching it might have been assaulted by the locals? That's absolutely true. If the bomber had been caught on the streets of Boston he'd have been torn to pieces by a mob.

    I do have one problem with the film. Officer Sean Collier was depicted as having happened to have been near the convenience store when it was robbed and was shot by them purely by happenstance. THIS IS NOT TRUE. Officer Collier was responding to a report of the robbery, which strictly speaking was not his responsibility as it is not on the MIT campus. He was killed having deliberately placed himself in danger, not through sheer accident.

    MIT sold "MIT Strong" T-shirts after that, with Officer Collier's number on the left shoulder. I have one. I normally do not wear MIT paraphernalia, but I make a point of wearing that one every so often. During my time at the Institute I had occasion to have interactions with the MIT Police (no, no vandalism or other anti-social behavior was involved) and found them approachable and professional.

    1. Yup, anger was the prevailing emotion.

      Did not know that about Sean Collier, I did know that he was the kind of guy who would always have your back. Like I said, he was the friend of a friend.

  6. As soon as I heard about the bombing I called my old fraternity house to see if anyone had gotten hurt. No one had. The house was full of people who were stranded because traffic had been stopped, the T had been stopped and the cell phone towers were jammed. But they still had a land line, so they let people make calls and stay there until traffic was reopened.

    The next year my daughter decided to run the Marathon herself - she had never run one before, but got a place on her university alumni's team that has dedicated spots. My sister-in-law, who lives in Indianapolis, also decided to run - she is a runner and had simply qualified on her own. We all flew out to see them run. My daughter's university has, through an alumni, a dedicated spot on the course where they had breakfast, lunch, seating, et. al. set up. We had to bus there very early in the morning before the course was closed to traffic. We got to see them both run by and give them a hug. After that, the bus took us to as close to the finish line as they could get. We walked through a security perimeter where absolutely everything was pawed through and searched.

    Now, normally, people would go to the finish line, cheer whoever they knew as they finished, and then leave. Not the year after the bombing. The whole area for blocks filled up with people who came, partied, cheered everyone, and refused to leave. It was jammed. The prevailing atmosphere was defiance: "F**k these bastards, we're not going to let them scare us!" And that bit at the end with David Ortiz proclaiming to the crowd "This is our fucking city!" That was not staged for the movie. That actually happened at the start of the Sox's first home game after the bombing. It went out live and uncensored on both TV and radio. Someone asked the FCC if they were going to sanction the Sox for not censoring it. It turns out the head of the FCC was from Boston and a Sox fan - no action was taken.

    1. I loved that scene with Big Papi in the movie, I knew it was the real deal as that had had lots of air time on the local sports talk radio stations (which did bleep the "offending" word). I do believe if the FCC had fined him, all of New England would have chipped in to pay it for him.


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