Tuesday, April 16, 2013

We Are Boston

Yesterday was a day of reflection for me. Immediately after hearing what occurred at the Boston Marathon, I reached out to family and friends who participated to ensure their safety. Happily everyone was okay, but the familiarity of where the tragedy took place amplified the discomfort and the control that I no longer have living on another coast. 

I lived in Boston only briefly but the streets were always easy to navigate, the T schedule naturally memorized and the historical city-scape more than embedded into my brain. When we New Englanders spoke of heading to the city... it meant Boston. Boston is our Haven. And yet, Boston represents so much more than that.

History - Patriots' Day commemorates the anniversary of the Battles of Lexington and Concord, the first battles of the Revolutionary War, on April 19, 1775.  This is merely one date. One small, yet incredible important point in Boston's and America's history. Memories of field trips along 'The Freedom Trail' learning of Revolutionaries from the Boston Massacre, the Boston Tea Party, Paul Revere's 'Midnight Ride', and Bunker Hill. This city, where our ancestors settled to begin a new and promising life, is full of so much history, so many stories that we have and must continue to learn, respect, and grow from, each and every day.

Pride - We Bay-Staters are a proud bunch to say the least. Proud on the brink of arrogance with a touch of humility. We understand the ridiculousness of our proclamations but demand your acceptance despite the fact. We bleed Black & Gold all winter and wear Red Sox all summer.  The Pats are Gospel on Sundays and Shamrocks can be picked from parquet floors. All we ask from outsiders is that you accept that we are never wrong and that Belichick is always right.

Tradition - Red Sox vs Yankees. The most heated rivalry in U.S. sports engulfs Boston every time the Yanks visit Fenway Park.  The Beanpot Tournament occurs every February & March between Boston’s top collegiate hockey teams; Harvard, Northeastern, Boston College & Boston University play each other at the Garden.  Boston was also the first major city to host the annual First Night festival, which occurs during New Year's Eve. Started in 1976, it has since been emulated in other cities worldwide. The Saint Patrick's Day Parade occurs in March and is popular with the city's large Irish population specifically in South Boston.  Every year from June to September, celebrations honoring several Roman Catholic saints are held in the streets of Boston's Italian-populated North End. These celebrations, or feasts, include Italian foods, religious services, parades, festivities, games, and live music and entertainment. The largest celebration of the year is the Feast of Saint Anthony in August.  One of the best-known is yesterday's Boston Marathon, one of the oldest and most prestigious marathon races in the world. Taking place on the third Monday in April, the Marathon attracts professional runners from all over the world, and hundreds of thousands of Massachusetts residents gather to watch and cheer on the runners, who range from first-time participants to well-known athletes. My attitude towards what occurred yesterday and the future of traditions in Boston and everywhere... 'The best way to show those who attempt to stop, change and scar what we believe in is to continue believing.'

A personal preference in 'dealing' with yesterday's tragedy are quotes from those with better words than myself:

"When evil men plot, good men must plan. When evil men burn and bomb, good men build and bind.  When evil men shout ugly words of hatred. Good men must commit themselves to the glories of love." -MLK Jr.

 "When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me 'Look for the helpers.  You will always find people who are helping.' To this day, especially in times of 'disaster,' I remember my mother's words and I am always comforted by realizing that there are still so many helpers - so many caring people in this world."- Mr. Rogers

"Boston is a tough and resilient town. And so are its people." - President Barack Obama

From all of this, I can say we have many prayers for those affected.  Boston is home to me and home to many. Those who are responsible did not calculate who they provoked. We are a Commonwealth of many and representation of so much more. We are Tradition. We are Pride. We are HistoryWe are Boston. And we will overcome.