For Boston…

A moment of triumph quickly turned into horror and confusion yesterday as a pair of explosions left a gruesome scene at the Boston Marathon.

The blasts left three dead, including an 8-year-old boy and over 150 people were hospitalized, some critically. Details are still coming in as to who caused the attack or what the motives were.

The news rolled across my Twitter feed in real time. As a novice runner, I had been periodically checking my news feed during the event to check progress and get results. That’s when I started seeing mentions of confusion and terror. Words like “blast” and “bombing.”

Then a photo of the aftermath. Debris everywhere. Smoke. Charred remains of paper. And on the pavement, blood. It was sickening and unreal. In an age where we have in many ways become desensitized to violence, I found the images and accounts of the events that unfolded almost too much to handle. When I heard that the life of a young kid was cut down, my heart broke.

The finish line is normally an area where hands are held high and spirits are lifted, instead it became a trauma unit. People scattered to assist those in need, others rushed for cover. In those uncertain moments of horror, one is never sure on what to do.

It bears mentioning is that yesterday was Patriots’ Day in Boston, a state wide holiday. Two things are certain on this day, the Red Sox play a day game and the marathon is run. Bostonians take pride in this day and the race. It’s a time honored tradition. Most of the city is shut down. People take the day off maybe as an excuse to watch the run or sneak out of the office for a day and get to Fenway.

Boston is a city close to my heart. As a kid who was born and raised in Buffalo, New York I grew up as a fan of both the Red Sox and Bruins. I started following the Red Sox when I was six years old. My reasoning? Because they had a “B” on their cap and since my name began with that letter it made sense. I became a fan of the Bruins a year or so later after my father took me to a Sabres game where they played the Bruins. I walked in wearing a Buffalo hat, but left as a fan of the team in black and gold. Since then I haven’t turned my back on my loyalty to the teams of that city. My wife and I even spent part of our honeymoon in Boston and have returned numerous times. It’s a great city full of some of the finest people around.

Through social media I’ve drawn a bond with many people from the area. On Twitter we’ve shared joy over our teams victories and disappointment (and often humor) in their defeats. It’s a tight-knit, dysfunctional social community and yesterday we all banded together in support and comfort. Not just the fine people of Boston, not just the fans of the teams from that area, but people from all over were apart of the discussion. Words of encouragement and hope rolled in from all over, from New York City to California. Last night, fans of the Oakland Athletics changed their chant from “Let’s go Oakland” to “Let’s go Boston.”

As a testament to the strength of that city and the marathon itself, many people who had finished the race continued running to Mass General Hospital to donate blood to those in need. There were reports of first responders using lanyards as makeshift tourniquets.

Patriots’ Day celebrates the earliest days of our nation. Though celebrated on the third Monday in April, the actual Patriots’ Day is April 19th and it marks the Battles of Lexington and Concord and “the shot heard around the world.” It’s tragic that a day which celebrates freedom is now marred by violence.

Whether or not the significance of this day factored into the events is unclear. What is clear is that the city of Boston will prosper and next year, the marathon will be bigger and stronger, but will never be the same.

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One thought on “For Boston…

  1. Jacqueline wiepert says:

    Bryan….I too love Boston my aunt and godmother lives there and I first got to visit when I was 14 years old…my first plane ride alone to spend the summer with her and my baby cousins..and have gone back many times since. I fell in love with the history and riding the T to get wherever I wanted to go, since it was easier than driving and parking in the city. I had a good friend whose husband at one time was assistant basketball coach at Boston college, and would go to visit them and see games. I would drive from buffalo to Boston cause it seemed like a quick 8 hour drive to see a town/city that I loved. I also spent time at Nantucket , Nantasket beach , the cape…so many happy memories. I have never been to see the Boston marathon but like to follow the marathons and other runs as your cousin’s Adam and Natalie are distance runners. Adam emailed me the night of bombings from where he is deployed telling me he is going to unregister from the Marine Corp. marathon next October! He has been training for this for years, I hope he does run, but I think it is especially difficult for those deployed in a war zone when they feel safer than our citizens here at home. The bombings at this event in a city I think of as my second home is beyond Horrific, I cannot fathom the shock the runners must have felt exhausted knowing their loved ones were watching on the sidelines at the finish line when those explosions went off and the horror of what those innocent spectators went through. I pray for those 3 innocents killed so senselessly , all those injured and their families. I pray for all the wonderful and good people of Boston, Mass.

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