Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Boston Strong

Patriots Day.
A day to observe the Battles of Lexington and Concord that took place in 1775, the first battles of the Revolutionary War. It is recognized in Massachusetts, Maine and Wisconsin. It is held on the third Monday of April...Marathon Monday.

The Boston Marathon. Chris and I lived in Boston for 5 of them. There has been a Red Sox game scheduled at Fenway Park every year on that day since 1959.
Marathon Monday or Patriots Day, They are one in the same, a holiday in Boston. Schools and banks are closed and people gather all over the city for various reasons. Crowds gather in and around Fenway Park for the Red Sox game. People line the streets all along the route of the marathon to cheer on the thousands of runners who will participate. Elsewhere, people gather for war reenactments. A proud city and state coming together in the name of tradition.

For 5 years, Chris dreaded the business of marathon Monday. He dreaded the service calls that would come in for downtown Boston. The times he had to go down there, he always made the effort to go really early before the marathon. Too much traffic, too many people--plus they close down half the streets. Its a nightmare to drive around downtown that day. One of the neighborhoods I walked dogs in was right along the marathon route. I have watched the runners on more than one occasion.

Chris no longer has to worry about a service call in downtown Boston, and I no longer have the opportunity to watch the runners during one of my walks with a four legged client. Living back on the west coast now, the extent of my marathon watching is on the TV. Watching for people I know in the crowd, recognizing the landmarks and streets I became so familiar with during our 6 years there.

April 15, 2013, Marathon Monday. I had actually forgotten all morning that the marathon was even happening. I remembered just before noon, and went to turn on the TV. I turned the TV on just in time to see the breaking news on every channel about the explosions near the finish line. I watched in shock as the story unfolded--hand to my mouth, I grabbed for my phone to call Chris and tell him what had happened. I'm not from Boston and I may not have loved everything about living there, but it is a part of our story. We spent the first 6 years of our marriage there, and we met a lot of good people and friends there. Boston is always going to be a part of us.

We have friends who like to go watch the marathon. A couple of friends who are doctors work in one of the medical tents not far from the finish line. Chris used to service the Starbucks right next door to where the second bomb went off. He had been to that very store on marathon Monday. I immediately sent a text to make sure our friends working in the medical tent were safe. I quickly got confirmation that they were. The days that followed were filled with confusion, uneasiness and what I can only imagine was fear. No one knew who was responsible for the bombings or where they were. Were there more attacks planned?

April 18, 2013. Surveillance photos and videos were released of the two suspects, and later that day they were identified as brothers of Chechen descent living in Massachusetts. Boston and surrounding areas were essentially on lock down. Halted buses and closed subways made one of the busiest and active cities in America a ghost town. The evening of the 18th, the brothers killed an MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology) police officer, hijacked an SUV and led the police on a chase and ultimately a gun fight in the streets of Watertown. We have friends in Watertown. People from the church we used to go to in Cambridge had bullets come through their living room wall and hit their television. It was unreal watching this unfold on the TV and listening on the police scanners. One of the suspects was dead and the other was on the run. We watched as CNN reported live just down the street from the Starbucks where Chris frequented, because their 'shop' where they kept all their equipment and parts was in the basement. Friends had their homes searched by SWAT officers. Nobody was to supposed to leave their house, and the police chief instituted a curfew as well. The second suspect was finally captured on the 19th, after he was found hiding in a boat in a backyard only 2 blocks from where he had made his escape in the first place. It was a relief to know all our friends were safe.

The people of Boston are tough and hard. The very things I didn't like about Boston when I lived there made me proud when I watched them come together that week. Mess with one of them--you mess with all of them. Boston is a proud and hardworking blue collar town, and I wish I had appreciated it more when I lived there.
The following videos are the tributes played before a Bruins game and a Red Sox game. If you have a couple minutes to watch them they are pretty awesome.
It will forever be a miracle to me that only 3 lives were lost that day. Hundreds were injured and their lives changed forever by the selfishness of others who think it is their right to dictate our freedom. I hope the resiliency that the city of Boston and it's people showed that week will only strengthen the rest of us. Boston Strong indeed.

May Martin Richard, Krystle Campbell, Lingzi Lu and Sean Collier forever rest in peace.

No comments: