I grew up 12 miles from the start of the Boston Marathon.
In grade school, I went on countless field trips to the New England Aquarium, the Museum of Science or walked the Freedom Trail, almost always ending our jaunts at Quincy Market and Faneuil Hall.
My friends and I would hop on the T while we were in high school and hang out at the JFK Library.
When I left Massachusetts to go to college, I would come back and visit my best friend in Boston, who then lived on Boylston Street.
When I moved to Denver, co-workers called me “Boston” because, well, my demeanor was a bit rough around the edges compared to others out west.
In Maine, I’m known as a Masshole. (There are a lot of Massholes up here. We take the nickname in stride.)
The marathon is a big part of my childhood memories. The entire state takes the day off to cheer on the runners.
On Monday, I felt sadness and disbelief. On Tuesday, I felt violated and angry. By Friday, I wanted to go out on the streets and find that last suspect myself.
Those men messed with the wrong city and the wrong event.
There is something magical and sacred about the Boston Marathon. If you didn’t know it before, you know it now.
The fact that the entire city of Boston shut down to look for the suspects is not surprising to me. There is no way that community would sit back and hope for a resolution. They went out and hunted those men down.
And let’s not forget the runners.
Ever hear of Heartbreak Hill? It’s between the 20th and 21st mile of the Boston Marathon. What seems like cruel and unusual punishment to me is just another challenge to a marathon runner. I’ve sat and watched runners at that point in the marathon and willed them up that hill. It’s painful as a spectator.
Some of those runners on Monday – who were stopped abruptly and probably in need of their own medical attention – ran another 2 miles to the hospital to donate blood. When they found out what happened, they helped. And so did many others in Boston that day.
We were supposed to take a family trip down to Boston on Wednesday to celebrate the end of tax season. After talking with the boys about what happened, we decided not to go.
On Saturday morning, I had a conversation that went something like this:
Me (to my boys): The brave police caught the other bad guy last night.
G: Yay! Did they take him to jail?
Me: Well, he was hurt, so they first had to take him to the hospital.
G: Did they help him?
Me: Yes. Because hospital workers help everyone, even bad guys.
G: And then they’ll take him to jail?
Me: Yes. Then they’ll take him to jail to make sure he doesn’t hurt anyone else.
Biz: And then they’ll teach the bad guys to be good again.
If only it were that easy.
As the dust settles from this latest tragedy, it is time, once again, to heal. It is time to remember Martin Richard, Krystle Campbell, Lu Lingzi and Sean A. Collier. It is time to support those who are recovering from their wounds. It is time to say thank you to all the helpers, from the spectators to the first responders.
This month, as part of my Giving Pledge, I’m donating to One Fund Boston. The money from this fund will go to the families who were most affected by the Boston Marathon bombings.
As Massachusetts Governor Patrick said, “At moments like this, we are one state, one city, and one people.”
How about drinking a litte dirty water and joining me?
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