"How happy it is to have friends come from afar." This line from the opening passage of the Confucian Analects greets one everywhere that tourists congregate in China. Despite its having become a marketing cliche, it still expresses a profound truth. Bridging the distance between people is a basic human act. It is what makes families from isolated individuals, communities from disparate families, nations from disconnected communities, and what makes peace possible in a divided world. That joy is today mixed with sorrow, as we have lost a friend who came from afar. Lu Lingzi, a young graduate student from the city of Shenyang in the northeastern province of Liaoning, China, was killed in Monday's attack in Boston.
graduated from Shenyang Northeastern High School in 2008. She studied
international economics at the Beijing Institute of Technology, and came
to Boston University to study statistics. She was 23 when she was
killed on Monday. Her friend Zhou Danling suffered injuries that
required surgery but is now out of mortal danger.
will never know Lu Lingzi, but our lives shared coincidental
similarities. Like her I went to college in Beijing and graduate school
in Boston. My parents worried for me when I went halfway around the
world to study. I can only imagine the grief that her parents feel
today, having this tragedy befall their daughter so far away.
it is small comfort, I hope that Lu's parents and friends know that we
share their grief. Lu Lingzi was a member of our community. There are
many countries where there are no "friends from afar," only strangers.
America, despite notable failures, strives to be a place that remains
open to distant friends and ready to receive their gifts. The attack
upon Lu Lingzi was an attack upon the heart and spirit of America as
painful and destructive as that upon Martin Richard, Krystie Campbell,
and the other victims of Monday's blast.
Lingzi. I am sorry we did not protect you. I am sorry we can not return
you safe and well to your family as the people of Beijing returned me
home to mine. Thank you for making the journey to our shores. Thank you
for coming the long distance and sharing your light with us. We will
remember you, and honor your memory by working to make our nation and
the world a better place.