Yesterday was Patriots’ Day here in Massachusetts, and more importantly- it was the 118th Boston Marathon. After stopping by my office in the morning to sort through the weekend mail and make a couple of phone calls, I met up with some friends to grab lunch and head down towards the finish line a short time after the race had started to cheer on the participants still making their way to Boylston Street. The sun was shining, it was warm and breezy out- and you truly couldn’t have asked for a more perfect day to have such a celebrated (and this year, an especially poignant) event.
The anniversary of the 2013 Marathon bombings passed last week, and I had contemplated writing a reflective post re-visiting the courage I had witnessed that day (even through the initial fear and uncertainty,) and have continued to witness every day since then- from the stories of survivors who had been horrifically wounded taking their first steps on prosthetic limbs and with their heads held high, to the families and friends who had lost loved ones in the blasts rallying together to show the world that despite the unthinkable happening to them- they would not yield or cave to fear and hatred- that they still had love and strength in their hearts, however broken those hearts were/are in the wake of their loss.
I decided to wait on the post, however- not only because I believe others who shared their thoughts and feelings on the anniversary did so infinitely better than I could have ever hoped to do, but because I wanted to experience this marathon, first.
So let me just say this:
Yesterday’s Boston Marathon, from each and every sweat-drenched runner who crossed the finish line, to each and every attendee who came to show their support, cheer themselves hoarse, yell words of encouragement like “you’re almost there! You can do this! We’re proud of you! Keep going!” and “don’t give up!” at the participants passing by on the course who had slowed their pace to catch their breath. To the police and fire departments, some of whom came in from out of town to help, and who kept a vigilant eye over things- and to the people I saw shaking hands, high-fiving, and hugging anyone and everyone they came across who were wearing their medals- some with their silver thermal blankets still draped around them- while congratulating their accomplishment with wide, genuine smiles: THAT is the personification of this event. THAT is the personification of the city of Boston.
“Boston Strong” is more than a catchphrase or a slogan on a t-shirt. It is a rallying cry, birthed from a horrible tragedy last Spring, that represents the unity of an amazing city filled with some of the best and bravest people you could ever hope to meet- people that band together to support one another during the tough times- and come together to rejoice together during the good times.
Congratulations to the runners in yesterday’s marathon. You were all spectacular and I can only imagine how exhilarating it must have felt to cross that finish line after so many of you couldn’t do it last year. You helped take the marathon back and you helped restore it to what it should always be remembered as- a beautiful, uplifting, and inspiring event.
I look forward to cheering you all on again next year!