This story isn’t about Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, the brother of Tamerlan Tsarnaev, who is on trial for his connection with the Boston Marathon Bombings as well as the murder of a Massachusetts Institute of Technology police officer. This story is about the courageous character of Boston Bombing survivor Rebekah Gregory DiMartino.
For the first time since the tragic Boston Bombings, Rebekah faced the man who caused her to lose a limb and nearly ended her life. On Wednesday, she was in court as one of the first witnesses to testify against Tsarnaev.
Judy Clarke, the lawyer for Tsarnaev, admitted in federal court that her client was indeed the man who planted the bomb in 2013. The Boston Bombing terrorist faces 30 charges in connection with blasts, 17 of which are punishable by the death penalty.
Hours after Rebekah’s testimony in court, the survivor of the gruesome attacks penned a powerful letter on her Facebook to one of the men who nearly killed her. The words are emotional, heartbreaking, inspirational, real and profound.
Dear Dzhokhar Tsarnaev,
My name is Rebekah Gregory. We don’t really know each other and never will. But over the last two years, I have seen your face not only in pictures, but in almost every one of my nightmares. Moments before the first blast, your stupid backpack even brushed up against my arm, but I doubt you remember because I am no one to you. A complete stranger. And although I was merely just a blip on your radar, (someone that happened to be standing 3 feet from your designated “good spot” for a bomb), you have been so much more to me. Because you have undoubtedly been my source of fear since April 15th, 2013. (After all, you are one of the men responsible for nearly taking my child, and for the permanent image embedded in my brain of watching someone die.) Up until now, I have been truly scared of you and because of this, fearful of everything else people might be capable of.
But today, all that changed. Because this afternoon, I got to walk into a courtroom and take my place at the witness stand, just a few feet away from where you were sitting. (I was WALKING. Did you get that?) And today I explained all the horrific details, of how you changed my life, to the people that literally hold YOURS in their hands. That’s a little scary right? And this afternoon before going in, I’m not going to lie..my palms were sweaty. And sitting up there talking to the prosecution did make me cry. But today, do you know what else happened? TODAY…I looked at you right in the face….and realized I wasn’t afraid anymore. And today I realized that sitting across from you was somehow the crazy kind of step forward that I needed all along.
And I think that’s the ironic thing that happens when someone intends something for evil. Because somehow, some way, it always ends up good. But you are a coward. A little boy who wouldn’t even look me in the eyes to see that. Because you can’t handle the fact that what you tried to destroy, you only made stronger. And if your eyes would’ve met mine for just one second, you would’ve also seen that what you “blew up” really did BLOW UP. Because now you have given me (and the other survivors) a tremendous platform to help others, and essentially do our parts in changing the world for the better.
So yes…you did take a part of me. Congratulations you now have a leg up…literally. But in so many ways, you saved my life. Because now, I am so much more appreciative of every new day I am given. And now, I get to hug my son even tighter than before, blessed that he is THRIVING, despite everything that has happened.
So now…while you are sitting in solitary confinement, (awaiting the verdict on your life), I will be actually ENJOYING everything this beautiful world has to offer. And guess what else? I will do so without fear….of YOU. Because now to me you’re a nobody, and it is official that you have lost. So man that really sucks for you bro. I truly hope it was worth it.
Someone you shouldn’t have messed with
It would have been so remarkably easy for Rebekah to dwell on the harrowing events of April 15th, 2013 and give up on life. After losing her leg and enduring over a dozen surgeries she could have become depressed and just lived a miserable existence. She could have ignored all of her responsibilities because she was consumed with reliving every frightful and grisly second of the Boston Bombings. She could have let the diabolical plot of two wicked monsters overtake her soul and fuel her appetite for revenge until her last day of her life.
She could have reacted with any and all of those perfectly understandable behaviors and not one person would have faulted her for doing so. However that is not Rebekah’s character. She is greater than all of the evil.