My heart is still heavy for the city of Boston and all of those impacted by the bombings Monday during the marathon. I lived in Boston for five years, and if there is one thing I learned from my time, it is the passion and spirit that rose from this very day. Patriot’s Day is a state holiday and two major events always take place in Boston. The Boston Marathon begins early in the morning and the Boston Red Sox always have a game at Fenway at 11:00 am. The finish line of the marathon is in Copley Square, a heavily populated and popular part of Boston. Trinity Church and Old South Church are there. The Boston Library, John Hancock Building, three major hotels as well as many businesses and restaurants are smack dab in the heart of Copley Place. The T Green Train runs just underneath. On any day, there will be a lot of people but on Boston Marathon Day this place is filled to “maximum capacity” (and then some) with family and friends from around the world. They are there because of the Boston Marathon. Workers, runners, fans, staff, security, police, rescue, volunteers, and many others whose life on this particular day is filled with blue and yellow colors and marathon madness.
I say all of this because I have never seen a city rally around with such passion and spirit as they do in Boston for the marathon. It’s truly an awesome experience to be a part of. I was a spectator a few times and it would be nothing for me to sit out there for 4-5 hours cheering on the runners. One year, a runner stopped to tie his shoe in front of me and thanked me for cheering folks on. And I was one of thousands out there. The fact that this is an international event brings this attack to an international magnitude. People from all over the world descend on Boston for the marathon and people from all over the world felt the bombs.
Whoever did this knew exactly what they were doing. I have no idea why in the world anybody would want to hurt, kill or harm innocent bystanders but they have. I don’t want to speculate who that is. Anyone who would do this doesn’t deserve that time and honor. What matters to me is the target that was attacked. Boston was attacked. Somebody hit the city on the very day that brings pride and honor to their home. Not just any city in the United States got hit. It was Boston. Nobody messes with Boston.
Whoever did this apparently doesn’t know Boston very well. Boston is full of spirit and fight. Bostonians are passionate about two things, sports and brotherhood. The attackers managed to find both of those passions at one time. The photographs and stories from the past 48 hours are proof positive of the brotherhood that goes deep into the soul of Boston. The people matter and nobody is a stranger when it comes to helping one another through a tragedy. The attack didn’t weak this city. The attack just made Boston stronger. Nobody messes with Boston.
There is no denying the fact that Boston is intense. Go to a Red Sox game during the pennant race. The intensity is just as strong whether they win or lose. Try to get on the T at 5:30 in the evening. Come to a Patriots’ game wearing a Peyton Manning jersey. Remind a Red Sox fan of Grady Little’s coaching mistake a few years ago (that one still breaks my heart). They are intense and they’ve got heart. When I interviewed for the position I had in Boston, I spoke to four different groups. The first question every group had was “Can you cheer for the Red Sox?” When I wore my green stole in church, people wondered if it represented the Celtics. If one of the Boston teams lost, you heard about it and so did the team. If they won, it was a matter of fact. Nobody messes with Boston, not even their teams.
It wouldn’t be a surprise to anyone if they saw me walking around the city with my camera. I’d jump on the T and head to a destination unknown and spend the day exploring the town. You could have found me in the North End at Mike’s Pastry, or around the Garden of the Boston Celtics. I headed down to the Boston Harbor and Rose Kennedy Park. I walked the Freedom Trail through Faneuil Hall and Paul Revere’s House, to Columbus Park and the fountain. I explored Boston Common with the Memorial Day flag display or the Christmas tree in the winter. Every time I walked by a fire station, I stopped by to say hello and thank them for their service. Whenever I saw a police officer or EMS worker, I stopped and thanked them. Whenever I went a hospital in Boston for a visit, I knew I was in the presence of greatness. They know what they are doing and are passionate about doing it right; not for themselves but for the people they help. The emergency workers, hospitals, and police are the best of the best. Nobody messes with Boston.
Yes, Monday was a terrible day in the light of celebration and pride. My heart is heavy and my prayers are full but there is a smile on my face from the stories I keep hearing. If there is anything good that comes out of this horrific situation, it’s this – everyone around the world will learn what I already know.
Nobody messes with Boston. Nobody.