Community strength, the positive side of tragedy


NickIt’s hard to believe that it was just a year ago this week that the Boston Marathon Bombings shocked our nation. The memories are still fresh as many still try to make sense of what was such a horrific event.

It seems like every time one turns on the news there is a new tragedy unfolding somewhere in the world. During a week dedicated to remembering what happened in Boston, a gunman entered two Jewish centers in Kansas City and took the lives of three people. It seems there is never any time to mourn one senseless crime as there is always another one right around the corner.

Yet despite all the endless, unthinkable acts that dominate our news, we never break. Because through it all, when faced with tragedy, what we can count on is people coming together. Instead of falling apart, we grow resilient.

A year later after the Boston Marathon Bombings, the constant message that has resonated through the memorials on television is how much stronger Boston is today. The people of Boston have grown together through such trials, forever changing the entire community.

Illinois State University has not been exempt from tragedy. The recent death of Michael Collins has been incredibly painful for the ISU community. Through that pain, the way ISU has rallied together has been so special.

By raising money to help Collins’s family pay for Michael’s medical bills, to the thousands that have joined his Pay It Forward campaign, ISU has shown the country just how tough we are as well. Our community continues to honor his “legacy of kindness” and it’s something to be proud of. Like the city of Boston, the members of the ISU community will never be the same either. We’ll be stronger.

There is no better way to honor the people we have lost than by uniting in their memory. Every tragedy or disaster has amazing stories of heroism and people lifting each other up. It is those stories that give us hope, no matter how horrific an event may be.

As we remember the Boston Marathon Bombing, let’s choose to focus on the heroes that showed such courage. Let’s remember how a city rallied together and became “Boston Strong”. When we think back to that tragic day, let us be reminded of human reliance rather than scenes of destruction.

Years from now, when we look back on the life of Michael Collins, let’s remember the inspirational acts he did in his life and how ISU came together and became “#MCStrong” when he passed. There is no better legacy to leave than one that is dedicated to helping people and it is one that he would surely be proud of.

There will always be tragedy, but as we move forward we at least can take solace in the bravery and kindness that it brings out of people. There is no end to the fortitude of the human spirit and though there will always be sorrow for those we lose, it is that fortitude that gives us hope.

“We are learning not jut perseverance, but resilience,” Boston Mayor Martin Walsh said this week.

As we continue to grow and move forward, we all are.

Nick Ulferts is a junior English education major and columnist for The  Vidette. Any questions or comments regarding his column can be sent to

One Response

  1. Irene Ulferts

    Another great article Nick!! You write with such feeling an passion and I know, in your heart, you really feel this way. NICE JOB LOVE Gm


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