As the 10 year anniversary of the Boston Marathon bombing and the search for the brothers behind the attack approaches, the lives lost in connection with the incidents are still being remembered.
Boston Police Sergeant DJ Simmonds passed away in 2014, one year after he was injured in the shootout between law enforcement and the brothers in Watertown. His sister recently spoke to 7NEWS’ Kimberly Bookman at a playground in Randolph named in his memory.
Nicole A. Simmonds-Jordan was with her children, who are getting to know an uncle they never met.
“When I look at my children, I struggle to see and feel the hope and the optimism and the confidence and the protection that my parents made sure we had growing up,” Simmonds-Jordan said. “That pain is rooted from watching my parents live for the past nine years in an illogical order of them losing their son.”
It has been a difficult road for the Simmonds family.
Initially, DJ was not considered a victim of the marathon bombing. The family had to have a medical examiner make that ruling, fight for line of duty death benefits and push to have DJ’s heroics publicly recognized.
“When they call DJ the 5th victim — I heard it so much that I started saying it,” Simmonds-Jordan said. “But as I think now more maturely, it’s like ‘Is there a hierarchy to trauma and death? What number is everyone else?’”
The playground in DJ’s hometown of Randolph is steps from where he used to bike as a child.
There’s another playground in Dorchester created in his memory.
His name is also etched in the Boston Police Memorial Wall.
But, despite all that, DJ’s sister said she feels her brother is still not given the same attention or recognition as the other marathon victims.
“Am I the only person that provokes the thought, ‘If my brother was white, would he be Boston’s hero?’”
To his family, DJ was a hero. Years after his death, the family will continue to tell his story and keep his legacy alive.
“It makes me want to live forever so I can make sure my brother at least gets to live as long,” Simmonds-Jordan said.
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