Today, it is Boston's turn.
Just as in the past it was the turn of so many cities, so many societies, so many peoples, too many to count. For some, it comes in the middle of peace. For others, it comes by way of years of war.
Yesterday's event at the finish line of the Boston Marathon was so random. Death or amputation were a matter of inches or yards. That's the scariest type of violence. It can strike anywhere, anytime.
In the short term, I was grateful. One of my cousins lived in Boston until recently. And in the long term, I am grateful, too. I know people who have fought in war. I know people who experienced war as civilians. So much violence, and too many times we don't pay attention until it "happens to us". Then it becomes personal.
I know a woman whose daughter has run in the Boston Marathon before, most recently with her fiancé. Both live in Boston. Today, I had an email exchange with the woman. Neither her daughter nor her future son-in-law qualified this year. Her daughter was on a plane at the moment of the incident (which is scary enough, given memories of 9/11) returning home. The future son-in-law? Normally he would have been at the finish line, congratulating friends. But yesterday he was at home - doing his taxes. (Our income tax filing deadline was yesterday).
Saved by the IRS. I could make a joke about it, but it wouldn't be too funny.
I've been to Boston, and have walked past the exact spots where the bombs went off. We've been visited by evil, bombs planted by persons who knew what they were doing, and sought to kill rather than inflict property damage.
The trick, now, in the days after the bombing, is to bounce back. Boston will do it, just like so many of us do it after tragic events in our lives. Not that it's easy. Not that memories will remain for life. Not one of us will have a life without tragedy touching it. Some will be touched more than others, and some will be tested more so than others.
Being from New York City originally, I know people who personally witnessed parts of 9/11, including the collapse of one or both World Trade Center towers. Some of them commuted to work daily, routed past the closed subway stations that had been damaged. Some lived in the area, which for a while was called "the frozen zone" or "Ground Zero". They couldn't avoid the daily reminders. Every time there was a scare - the November, 2001 plane crash in Queens, the Times Square bombing - the memories return.
Boston will learn to cope, too. New York and Boston are baseball rivals, but we are all Americans together. One day I will return to Boston, and I will walk on Bolyston Street to Copley Square. It's a beautiful street with a wonderful mix of architectural types and lots of shopping. I'll visit the Prudential Center again (what a vew of Boston from its observation area!) and I'll browse in the public library.
And that's a promise.