For Team Newtown Strong, Boston Bombing Is a Tragedy Within a Tragedy

In the days and weeks that follow the Boston Marathon bombing, media outlets will begin the grim task of sorting through a matryoshka doll of personal tragedies, although one such doubly tragic storyline has already emerged: the race was dedicated to the 26 victims of the Newtown school shooting, and not only did nine Newtown residents participate in the marathon itself, but families of the Newtown victims were offered a front-row view of yet another tragedy from the marathon's VIP section.

According to the Daily Beast, several reports from Boston insist that the Newtown residents seated in the VIP section were unharmed. The nine members of Team Newtown Strong, which ran in honor of the victims of the Sandy Hook school shooting, also all reportedly crossed the finish line before the two explosions near Copley Square.

The race held special significance for the Newtown residents because it was dedicated to the victims of Sandy Hook. From the Daily Beast:

The number 26—representing the number of victims at Sandy Hook and the rounded number of miles in the race—permeated the marathon from start to finish. Joanne Flaminio, president of the Boston Athletic Association, which sponsors the marathon, said before the race that there was a “special significance” to the fact that the race is 26 miles and 26 were killed in Newtown.

The first 20 miles of the marathon were dedicated to the first-graders who were killed at Sandy Hook, and the final six were dedicated to the six educators who were murdered.

Newtownians who'd either attended the Boston Marathon or had family members at the race reported in to the Connecticut Post as the story of the explosions was developing. Lisa Abrams, whose husband was one of the Newtown Strong members, told the Post quite poignantly, "Newtown cannot handle anymore of this. We don't need anymore stress, no more heartache."

That just about sums up the prevailing mood among the marathon's Newtown contingent, which must now find itself in a rare statistical group of people who have witnessed more than a single anomalous tragedy in less than six months. For anyone who ever feels exhausted with what can sometimes seem like an endless parade of tragedy in the news, consider the residents of Newtown who twice now have had to go through the sort of nightmare that most people won't ever have the misfortune of witnessing.

[TDB] [Connecticut Post]

Image via AP