A Story About the Boston Bombing, From Afghanistan

A simple act of kindness, a few thousand miles away, for a Massachusetts native far from home
RTR1O8BG.jpgDave Kaup/Reuters

From a Massachusetts native, a college classmate of mine, who served for decades in our armed forces and who is now a DOD civilian:

I traveled early yesterday morning to Herat, a city in Western Afghanistan.When I was leaving, one of the guys in the building where I work mentioned there had been a bombing in Boston during the marathon but I didn't have any time to stop and get details. I had only a few details while I was traveling most of yesterday.

This morning in Herat, I was at a base that is mostly Italian and Spanish, with very few Americans.At 8am, they raise all the flags of the countries that are on the base.I was waiting to go into breakfast and watched as they raised the flags, simultaneously, and then lowered the US flag to half-staff in honor of the victims of the Boston bombing.

Then the folks who had raised the flags, US and others, came over to me and offered their condolences, in various languages.I was completely taken aback, surprised and overwhelmed all at the same time.I couldn't figure out how they knew I was from Boston.I didn't really know anybody on this base other than a handful of people.

And then I realized I was wearing my Red Sox cap.

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Andrew Cohen is a contributing editor at The Atlantic. He is a legal analyst for 60 Minutes and CBS Radio News, a fellow at the Brennan Center for Justice, and Commentary Editor at The Marshall Project

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