Boston suffered a horrific event when two bombs went off during the Boston Marathon. This event brought the city of Boston and the nation together to share their solidarity, even to this day, for the people injured in the bombings as well as for the few who died.

I was shocked when it happened and the moment I heard about it will stick in my mind. Pretty soon, I began to see the phrase “Boston Strong” everywhere. You still see it in the news, in advertisements and even in sports. People really want to show their support, especially through a simple hashtag on Twitter.

Soon, I started to see the T-shirts. And in the months after seeing these “Boston Strong” shirts, I wondered if it was right. Was there some man somewhere in the world getting the quick bucks off a shirt trying to memorialize a tragic event?

I thought about the people injured in the attacks. What would you feel if you see people wearing this phrase, only to think back to that horrific day?

photo: creative commons; Tim Vertz
photo: creative commons; Tim Vertz

I started to do some research, to find out if the money for the shirts were going directly to the people affected by the bombings.

Two students from Emerson College, Chris Dobins and Nick Reynolds, created the first Boston Strong shirts as a way to benefit those affected. The T-shirts they sell, the simple blue shirts with the slogan on it, costs about $20 online, five of which goes to the production of the shirts and the other 15 go straight to the official donation fund, the One Fund.

But what about the other T-shirts and other T-shirt companies? Do their sales go directly to the One Fund or to the charity known as the company wallet?

Controversy really started when Kerim Senkal filed an application for the company Born Into It to have the phrase “Boston Strong” registered as a trademark. And in this deal, a measly 20 percent of the profit would go to the One Fund. This phrase of solidarity should not be used as a trademark.

From my perspective, as long as they are giving a majority of their profits to charity, then they seem to be morally in the right. But I still think about the victims and what their feelings are. That is what truly makes me feel like this is an issue that should be address, the morality of it all.

Matthew Reed is a Comment Contributor. Editor-In-Chief Greg Dudek edited this story. Email him at

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