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2015.04.15

April 15, 2015

Took the boys to the Aquarium on Saturday.

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We spent a LOT of time at the touch tank.

I ran a 5k on Sunday – I’m trying to do one a month this year, although I skipped January entirely, so let’s say 12 this year – and then we mostly puttered around the house.

But speaking of running.

Today is the anniversary of the Marathon bombing, and Boston has declared it OneBoston Day; essentially a day of kindness, a day of paying things forward.  This is a day I have a hard time with.  It is hard to explain to non-Bostonians what the Marathon means to us, much less the bombing.  I will try…

The marathon is a few weeks into official spring, but it’s often at the very beginning of actual spring – that is, the weather is just starting to turn.  People are outside for the first time in months.  It occurs on Patriots Day, which is a Boston-only holiday and many businesses are closed.  It’s always during school vacation week, so the Marathon route is always loaded with kids.  Spectating is of course free.  Bars in town open early, and no matter how cold it is, if a restaurant has outdoor seating they are packed all day long.  Plenty of people are tipsy, but nobody is a mean drunk on Marathon day. It is one of those things when, if you are out and about along the route, you will bump into people you know all day long – people you used to work with, people you went to elementary school with, people you see in your regular coffee shop but you don’t actually know, you name it.

All of which is to say, the Marathon is a community event of the highest order.  And yet the purpose of it all, is to watch 60,000+ people kick their own asses.  On purpose.  And cheer them along the way.  It is a day of stories big and small, and memories of all sorts.  For everyone.

Those two tried to rob us of all that.  They tried to change it from a day of camaraderie and general goodwill, to a day of fear and horror.  They tried to make people afraid of being out in public.  They tried to make a beautiful thing, ugly.

It worked.  For a couple of hours, it worked.

But even in the midst of chaos, Boston stepped up.  People helped in every way imaginable.  You’ve likely heard the bigger stories, but there are countless small ones too.  People opened their homes so that displaced runners had somewhere to stay.  People walked through the crowds, past the ambulances, straight to the hospital to donate blood.  First responders reported for duty on their days off.  People help.

I’ve heard Boston described as a large, loud, disfunctional family.  It’s true; we don’t all always agree or get along, often there is bitterness and hurt feelings.  And grudges, lots of grudges.  But like any family, we band together in a crisis.  I’ve never been so proud to live here.

All of the madness leading up to the chase and capture happened in a triangle made up of my mother-in-law’s house, my husband’s office building, and my office building.  One false move by any number of people I know and love, and they could have easily been caught in the literal crossfire.

And on the shelter in place day, when all of greater Boston area screeched to a halt, not one person had any negative comment.  Not one.  We all watched, and waited, and hoped.  Hoped.  Hoped.  When he was apprehended, and the police were wrapping things up in Watertown and slowly disbanding, people came out of their homes to line the streets and cheer them on.  Watching that on television, you know what it was like?

It was like the Marathon.

I will never forget that week.

I ran four miles this morning, one mile each for each of the four people killed.  Krystle Campbell.  Sean Collins.  Lu Lingzi.  Martin Richard.

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