The single most important thing we can do right now for the marathon bombing survivors is to listen to them. Hear what they have to say. Understand how they must be feeling.
When Adrianne Haslet-Davis — the courageous dancer who lost part of her left leg in the attacks — walked out on “Meet the Press” yesterday, she was not grandstanding. She asked that the names of the accused bombers not come up during the show’s taping in Boston. She said the producers of the NBC Sunday show broke their promise.
If you talk to other survivors, they feel the same way about the accused terrorists. They don’t want to hear their names, at least not in the context of their own stories of survival.
The lives of the more than 260 people injured that day, and the families of the four dead, were altered forever. Next week, next year and for years to come, the anniversary of the April 15 attacks will be painful days. We’ll go on, but they will still be dealing with their wounds.
Let Adrianne recover on her own terms. She has that right as someone who has always seen herself as a survivor, not a victim. And good for her for walking out on “Meet the Press.”
Many survivors have been traumatized in ways that are no different from members of the military injured in battle. Certain triggers — such as the name of the accused bombers — can open up old wounds. A simple choice of words makes a world of difference to them. We need to remember that and give these people room to heal.
Good journalists, and “Meet the Press” host David Gregory is one of them, can produce a compelling segment commemorating those who were killed and injured without mentioning the names of the accused terrorists.
TV producers have been coddling Hollywood movie stars for years, bending over backward to their every whim. They readily agree not to bring up stints in rehab, or that extramarital affair a few years ago. Why not her simple request?
Richard “Dic” Donohue, the MBTA officer who almost bled to death in the shootout with the alleged bombers, said it best the other day on Boston Herald Radio: “I can’t wait until April 22.”
The day after the running of the 118th Boston Marathon will be when these survivors can go back to the business of healing and getting on with their lives. The anniversary specials will be over. The media will stop calling, at least until next year.
The last thing we need to remember is that the survivors’ recovery is the city’s recovery. They are the ones who are showing us the way out of this nightmare.
If someone who taught dancing in the city, as Adrianne Haslet-Davis did at the Arthur Murray studio at the Park Plaza, doesn’t want to hear the names of the accused terrorists, why not give her that courtesy?
Adriana Cohen is co-host of “Trending Now” on Boston Herald Radio. Follow her on Twitter @AdrianaCohen16.