Quick Hit: “After Boston, One Foot in Front of the Other”

Our own Chloe has a powerful essay up at The Nation on the aftermath of the Boston Marathon bombing. She reflects on her friend Anthony’s rehab after he lost one of his legs below the knee in Kandahar Province, her own experience of pushing her body, and the strength the runners have already proven. My favorite part, though, is her reflection on the ethical ambiguity of benefiting from military research:

Unlike Anthony, those runners didn’t sign up knowing there was a risk of explosions. And unlike Anthony, they won’t have access to the kind of high-level and long-term medical care that many soldiers and veterans receive. But many of them will be able to walk again. Many of them will be able to run again. That’s in part because—and there’s no way around this ethical discomfort—they’re citizens of a country that has for a decade been sending troops to a battleground where these kinds of injuries are incredibly common. We’ve become very good at treating this kind of damage to the human body, and we’ve become very good at teaching people to adapt to life after that damage. Those advances have been achieved as a result of questionable foreign policy choices. But on a day like today, I feel inescapable gratitude that they have been achieved.

Running a marathon, it hardly bears noting, requires an extraordinary level of determination. It requires a kind of self-discipline and a force of will that most of us, even those of us who have been elite athletes, have only glimpsed in ourselves. So too does recovery from the kinds of life-changing injuries that were sustained in Boston yesterday. Rehab is hard, painful, miserable work. But those runners, I suspect, will run again. They’ll run another marathon. They might even run three.

You can read the whole piece here.

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