It has taken me the best part of a day and half to be able to sit down and write this. I have gone through alternating waves of shock, horror, disbelief, outrage, anger, sadness and just a general sick feeling all the way to my core… How could someone bomb the Boston Marathon and hurt and kill so many? There will never be a good answer to that question.
As is probably true of many of you who live in the greater Boston area I have received many queries making sure that “everyone is okay” (Thankfully – yes, my wife who works in the old Hancock building was working from home in Southborough that day, I was out of town, as was my son). They all express their horror that something like this happened so close to where we live.
Yes, this was very “close to home“. But how do you convey to them that this is so much more than close to home. The Boston Marathon is Boston’s oldest sports tradition – yes, older than the Boston Red Sox and Fenway Park. The Marathon is part of our collective culture and psyche just as the Twin Towers were the embodiment of New York City.
How many of us who live in the Boston area have gone to the race route at least once to cheer on the runners? I can remember the race going up Comm. Ave. every year during my four years at BC. I remember watching from Wellesley when my wife, then my girl friend, was renting a house along the race route. I can remember taking my son when he was young to see the race in Framingham. In Boston and the Metro-West area we literally grow up with the Marathon.
How many of us know somebody who has run the race? How we marvel at the sacrifice and dedication that go into training for the race by people who “just want to finish”. “Running Boston” is an amazing accomplishment that so many count among their greatest life achievements even if they run without a number and it takes them six hours to finish.
The Boston Marathon is so much more than a race. This is so much more than simply “close to home”. How many of us who were no where near the race route felt as if we had been punched in the gut on Monday afternoon? How many of us have been trying to fight back tears ever since Monday and every time we read or watch the news? How many of us cannot find words to express the sense of loss we are feeling?
So where does this leave us?
The Boston Marathon has always been about hope, strength, and accomplishment. Set in the early spring when the flowers are starting to bloom and the trees are budding, the Marathon is a symbol of renewal and rebirth. It is a celebration of all that is great in the human spirit. It is a time when hundreds of thousands of people come together to encourage people they have never met to accomplish something remarkable.
At Travel New England it is our hope that these things that the Marathon symbolizes, the very things that the victims of this tragic crime were there to celebrate, will help to give the victims and their families the strength to overcome their injuries and their loss. Our hearts and our prayers go out to you…
For me, I know where I will be on Patriots Day 2014. I will be somewhere along the race route to honor the families and the victims, to cheer on the runners, and to celebrate something that is so much more than just a race.