Martin Richardson Was Killed During The Boston Bombing And What His Dad Says Now Will Break Your Heart

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Boston Prepares To Commemorate One Year Anniversary Of Marathon BombingBill Richard, the father of Martin Richard, who was one of the youngest victims of last year’s Boston Marathon bombing, has spoken out for the first time in an emotional interview with David Abel of The Boston Globe. 

Part one of the two part interview was published this morning, and it’s as gut-wrenching as you might imagine. In case you don’t remember, the Richard family was hit especially hard by the terrorist attack. In addition to losing their 8-year-old son Martin, the family is still reeling from severe injuries and post-traumatic stress concerns. According to The Boston Globe:

“Bill was still recovering from a second operation to repair his blown eardrums, while Denise was learning to adapt to being blind in her right eye. Neither had much time for their own care, so pressing were the constant medical appointments for Jane, their 7-year-old daughter, who lost her left leg and was still learning to walk with a prosthesis. They also remained concerned about their older son, Henry, who at age 11 escaped the shrapnel but had to live with what he witnessed.”

The interview took place last autumn, but the anticipation that Richard feels about the upcoming one year anniversary of the bombing (which happened on April 15, 2013) was palatable even then. According to Abel, the fact that Martin died in such a public way is especially painful for Richard:

“It’s unfortunate that Martin didn’t die in a car accident on a random night,” Bill said. “Martin died at the Boston Marathon. The Marathon is going to happen every year, and it’s going to be public, whether we like it or not.”

What I find most inspiring is that regardless of this family’s immense pain and suffering, the Richards are determined to memorialize Martin’s short life by making the world a better place in his honor:

“Through the night, they debated whether to raise money to help amputees, build ballparks, or support libraries, whether to stay local or go national. The mission, they decided, should focus on the Martin who loved sports, memorized lines from Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech, and once marched in an antiviolence rally with a poster whose message had become his icon: “No more hurting people — Peace.”

This role is a familiar one for the Richard family. According to Abel, they are seen as pillars of their Boston neighborhood of Dorchester. Both Bill and Denise Richard have always been active members of their community, and until last year watching the Boston Marathon was a family tradition going back to when the couple first began dating:

“In the years after they met at a keg party at Bridgewater State College, the young couple made a tradition of joining the throngs at Fenway Park who strolled to the Back Bay on Patriots Day to watch the final leg of the Boston Marathon.

After their children were born, the Richards carried on the ritual of cheering on the runners, though they would spend more time in ice cream shops than bars. When they got older, their kids — all fledgling runners — marveled at the elite competitors and cheered on the stragglers, while Bill and Denise relished being part of the massive crowds, which made them and the city feel so alive.”

Abel manages to explain the day’s heartbreaking events and how they affected the Richards perfectly. The reader is left feeling no pity for this amazingly family, but rather awe at their strength and resilience in the face of adversity. It’s a fantastic read that I can’t even begin to eloquently describe. I can only hope that if, god forbid, something were to happen to myself or my family, I would have even half the strength Bill Richard and his family does.

(Photo: Getty Images)