This week our nation has been witness to the best and worst of all that we are.
On a crisp Patriot’s Day in Boston, we were once again scarred by violence, triggering a rousing chorus of patriotism putting forth our stalwart pledge of one Nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.
As the nation went about its business on Monday morning, the City of Boston readied for their yearly tradition of Patriot’s Day, the Boston Marathon. Easily recognized as one of the premiere marathon races in the world, Boston is a runner’s Super Bowl, Masters or World Series, it is THE race a marathoner must have in their brag bag before ending their running career.
As the marathon moved close to its fourth hour, the unthinkable happened when two bombs went off near the finish line. Planted by brothers in backpacks, the bombs cut through the psyche of the runners, the city and the nation.
As the bombs exploded over Boston, the hatred of that moment immediately unleashed a current of good from those in attendance and around the country.
As victims lay helpless amongst the ruins of what should have been a glorious day and as terrorists slithered away like cowardly reptiles, the heart of America pumped into overdrive. No sooner had the gaping wound of Boston been opened than the American people began to place a tourniquet on the wound and assist with the healing.
While terrorists ran way, the American people ran to.
Terrorists run into holes and hide, the American people run towards their injured neighbors and suffering strangers to assist, provide love and life support needed to help us move beyond.
As a long week grew longer and the Spirit of Boston was embraced by our entire country, we mourned the losses, we honored the heroes and we searched for the terrorists.
By Thursday afternoon when photos of the bombers appeared, we as a people did what we could, helplessly we posted, we tweeted and we posted some more until every home in every corner of our nation knew the faces of the animals who terrorized OUR Boston. Collectively we made sure that these animals would not be able to hide, all the while continuing to pray for our American family.
As we awoke to the news of Friday morning, knowing one of the murderers was dead provided little refuge. Knowing that his partner was still on the loose and another victim had been claimed by their insanity, our fears were multiplied.
All day Friday we watched a city on lockdown, homes searched street by street and sat with bated breath not knowing what would happen next. When a late afternoon news conference added to our nation’s fears as the second murderer remained on the loose, our nation began to prepare for another long night, not knowing what would happen next.
Through it all Boston stood strong and the nation provided a crutch to help them stand.
Not long after that afternoon news conference, the cowardly murderer was found, hiding like a rat underneath covers in hopes of making a get away.
As news spread that the second murderer had been arrested, the mood changed from fear to celebration and appreciation within an instant. The American people took a collective breath, allowing the emotion of the week to pour out on the Boston we have all come to love.
As our heroes in uniforms of many different colors and styles began to leave the scene of the crime, the American people did what we should do more often…. we stood and we cheered and we applauded.
Those heroes made their way through a glorious parade of high-fives, cheers, tears and flags as the people of Boston and America said, thank you.
The scenes of appreciation will resound in my mind for years to come, those scenes provided a glimpse into the real America. The America of helping hands, shoulders for crying and prayers for those in need.
The America of Friday night isn’t seen as much as it should be, but the America of Monday afternoon – Friday afternoon has been seen too often over these last years.
Now, we will move on from Boston, we will go back to our regular lives and wait for the next Boston to bring us back together again.
For many, that horrible day in Boston will never be healed. Lives were destroyed and lives were lost, for them we must remember the days immediately after the bombing and in their honor display that sense of caring and pride more often.
We remember the victims, Krystle Campbell, 29 of Arlington, MASS; Lingzi Lu, 23 of Shenyang, China; Sean Collier, 26 of Wilmington, MASS; and Martin Richard, 8 of Dorchester, MASS.
As we honor the victims, as we remember those lost, as we honor those living and those who will help us carry on, maybe one day the words of the youngest victim will be our rallying cry and not what encompasses us just in times of strife.