Remembering #BostonStrong 2013
Today is the one year anniversary of the Boston Marathon bombings.
That day, I got home from work and I was in my kitchen making a late lunch. It was around 3 p.m. We had the TV on in the living area and the news cut on with “Breaking News” that two explosions had gone off at the Marathon finish line. I stopped what I was doing and went to watch. I sat there with disbelief as the newscasters tried to give us information they didn’t have. There was a lot of speculation… “it may have been fireworks” and all I could see from what they were showing on the news, were the streets emptying and people scattering about. I knew in my gut that it was a bomb, but the hope in my heart wanted it to be fireworks.
Then the details came in. Two bombs, people injured, deaths not confirmed.
I sat there in disbelief, literally saying “No, no, no…” out loud as I watched the TV waiting for more details.
I scanned through my memory, “Who do I know right now who is down at the finish line?” I knew clients and friends who had planned to be right at the finish line… my sister was working downtown at Mass General as a nurse… Was she there? Had people been sent to the hospital yet? I started texting people hoping for a response…
Then more details came in, people injured, deaths confirmed.
How could this be? Who would terrorize the Boston Marathon??? The Marathon is a day of celebration and triumph. A day that we celebrate that we are proud to be Bostonians. CHILDREN go to watch the Boston Marathon with their parents!! I couldn’t believe it.
As a Massachusetts native, the Boston Marathon was a day of tradition, a day of celebration, for all Bostonians, adults, children, families. I grew up in Newton, Massachusetts, one of the suburbs that was on lockdown when they were tracking down one of the bombers. I used to live on Berwick Road in Newton, less than a mile from where the marathon runners run through Newton up Commonwealth Avenue towards Boston. As a child and a teenager, Marathon Monday, Patriots Day or whatever you want to call it, was a day of celebration, a day for families to get together and enjoy the unity of our city and to welcome people from out of town to come and celebrate our tradition of the Boston Marathon. Not a day of tragedy, terrorism and horror. These memories and associations of this day from my childhood and what it means to me as a Massachusetts native, combined with the fact that many of my clients and friends were at the finish line on the day of the Marathon; in addition to the fact that my sister is a nurse at Mass General Hospital, one of the hospitals that many of those injured in the bombing were sent to and she was working that day, caused these horrific events to really home for me and hit hard.
Just as marathon runner Shalane Flanagan responded, “I was WICKED PISSED.” to Anderson Cooper on 60 Minutes this past Sunday night when he asked her how she felt about the Marathon bombings. I too was WICKED PISSED. As Bostonians, we were all WICKED PISSED.
Nobody messes with our City and certainly not our Marathon. The people of Massachusetts are an unusual breed of strength of mind, body and character. Or as Stephen Colbert said it best during his show opener on April 16, 2013, “For Pete’s sake, Boston was founded by Pilgrims – a people so tough, they had to buckle their Goddamn hats on!”
Even though I’m sure every day over this past year has been a day of remembrance for many people of the events of April 15, 2013, today has been a day of remembrance for everyone. Moreover, it’s been a time for the bombing victims to show how they have overcome such a horrific event and how proud and strong they stand today as they put the pieces back together over the past year.
For Massachusetts native Shalane Flanagan, this past year’s training for the Boston Marathon has been personal. After placing fourth last year, she wants to win this year for all Bostonians. May she take first and represent Boston! Although first or fourth, she WILL represent Boston.
May this year’s Boston Marathon on April 21, 2014 be the most triumphant and significant to date. We are Boston Strong. We are Boston Proud.