Tuesday, April 16, 2013

A sad time for Boston

It's taken me a little while to feel ready to write a post about the terrible bombing in Boston yesterday at the finish line of the Boston Marathon. Though my husband and I live in New Hampshire now, Boston is and will always be our home. He grew up there and still works in the city, and I grew up nearby, used to live right outside the city, and now work just about 10 miles away. We have many many family and friends in Boston and a large amount of them were at the Marathon yesterday; running, volunteering, or simply cheering on the runners and experiencing the beautiful holiday. Hell, we've both been there volunteering or cheering more times than I can count! We were not there yesterday though and thankfully, I believe we have now heard from everyone and they are all safe.  Yesterday was an extremely scary and sad day for us, our friends, our family and our city.

This was taken at Mile 26 of the 2012 Boston Marathon. Pretty poignant now.
The fact that these bombs hit at the four-hour mark is just heart-wrenching since that is the time when the floods of "regular" runners are finishing - they are the regular people that have put their lives on hold to raise funds and train so they can run for a cause that is important to them, something that has touched their lives.  That last 1/2 mile should be a time of overwhelming pride in reaching their goal and overcoming obstacles, of hearing the roar of the crowd cheering them on to the finish line so they can revel in their huge accomplishment.  The runners' families and friends are crowding the sidelines of the finish line at that time, cheering with excitement and ready to celebrate together.  While NO ONE should be injured or killed at an event like this, the fact that this attack targeted the regular good-hearted people makes this even more difficult to comprehend.

Not only is this a loss in the physical sense for the innocent victims and their families, but also because Marathon Monday/Patriots Day in this area is probably the most joyous day of the year and it will now forever be tarnished.  Those not from the Boston-area likely can't understand what exactly this holiday is like for the city: It's a day that marks the start of spring and sunshine and warmer weather, where it's not only acceptable but expected that everyone will play hooky from work, go into the city, meet up with friends, smile at strangers, cheer on runners, watch the Red Sox game, flood the pubs & restaurants, and just have a fantastic and relaxing freebie day. In the midst of so much self-absorption that is rampant in any city, it is a day when Bostonians feel a sense of camaraderie and pride to be part of such a wonderful city and such a revered international event. As a friend of a friend wrote on his Facebook wall of his experience running in the Boston Marathon:
"An entire city lines the streets in support. Normally stoic police officers smile and offer words of encouragement. Friends and family track your progress and make a day of hustling around to different points on the course to see you for all of 10 wonderful seconds. Complete strangers, young and old, shout words of encouragement, offer you high fives, orange slices, Red Sox score updates, bananas, free beer, kisses, and even marriage proposals. From a runner's perspective, the Boston Marathon is a 26.2 mile celebration of the human capacity for kindness."
It's a day of happiness, pride, and accomplishment, not a day to be affiliated with fear, chaos,  sadness, and death. 

My heart goes out to all those directly affected by the bombing. I am sad for them and for all Bostonians. I have no doubt however, that the city will pull together and come out strong. There's a reason why Boston sports fans are fiercely loyal to and supportive of our teams (aka: seen as completely obnoxious by our opponents): we love and believe in our city and evil, cowardly acts such as these won't break the city's spirit.

Thank goodness for the first responders, EMTs, medics, police, and civilian volunteers who did whatever they could to save lives yesterday. They are true heroes, as were the runners who kept on running straight to the hospitals to give blood once they heard what happened. In the face of evil, there is always good to be found.

Boston's Finest. True heroes.

1 comment:

  1. Very well said. I feel this deep anger that anyone would try to ruin such a wonderful and truly Boston day.