When the Boston Red Sox beat the Tampa Bay Rays early Monday afternoon on Patriots' Day, I shut my television off, content that my sports watching for the day was over. My wife and I worked around the house for a while, doing chores.
That all changed when my wife Summer told me that there had been two explosions at the Boston Marathon finish line area. Immediately, I turned on our computers and TV looking for local coverage of the news. Once I saw the footage from Boston.com's Steve Silva and the footage on TV, I couldn't get over it.
Boylston Street, where my wife had worked at one point as a waitress and a hostess while pregnant with my son Michael a decade ago. Right by Newbury Street, where I had worked Patriots' Day for four years in a restaurant steps from the finish line. The Boston Marathon was a big part of describing how unique the Back Bay area can be to visitors to the city. The Marathon acts as one big block party for the entire city.
Seeing the pictures of the disaster area, one with blood on the streets right in front of an area that we walked by everyday and worked, was hard to grasp.
Within a handful of people, you would likely see a family from the suburbs, visitors and runners from out of town and co-ed's experiencing the Marathon for the first or second time. It brought the city together, even if it was for very different reasons. Patriots' Day was truly a only-in-Boston moment every year.
But this terrorist attack could have been anywhere in the country, at any public event. People from all walks of life were impacted. This could have been any major city or any sporting event.
Boston and it's surrounding areas can be very parochial, and it took time for the city to embrace cultural diversity, something that I noticed when I was a kid growing up, first in Watertown and then Milton. I was pleasantly surprised when I moved back in 1999 that the city had changed for the better. People were just people, the lines that had been there in the past were now gone, or at least far less noticeable.
I have never been prouder collectively of the people of Boston and of Massachusetts for showing their true colors then during this past week. Instead of pointing the finger and blaming unknown assailants, people at the Marathon ran toward the blast, risking their lives to help. Residents opened up their homes to strangers who had been displaced by the Marathon bombings. First responders worked around the clock for days.
Instead of the terrorists tearing the city apart, they managed to unite the city.
The federal, local and state authorities and officials worked together to hold the city together. Partisan politics were set aside, and the victims and the residents became the focus. The leaders of Boston showed what true leadership in a crisis is.
Make no mistake, Friday was unlike anything that I have ever seen. Almost 24 hours of live television of a manhunt for suspect No. 2. This is likely the white Bronco moment for this decade. Everyone was watching in real time, nothing else seemed to matter.
Social media is going to have an impact on any worldwide incident moving forward. In this investigation, the authorities were asking the public for pictures and video, asking for help identifying the suspects and locating their position. It was truly like the people of Massachusetts had a hand in catching these terrorists and bringing them to justice.
This community effort should be celebrated, much like it was last evening. The idea of a Duck Boat parade for all of the police officers, first responders, doctors, nurses, federal agents and everyone else involved is a great idea. Instead of celebrating sports figures, people can celebrate and cheer true heroes, people who put themselves in harm's way everyday.
When the Red Sox take the field today, it will be much more of a celebration of the resilience of the city and it's people than the Red Sox. You learn a lot about people during trying times, and it gave the city a chance to shine.
It also be another chance to remember the victims: eight-year-old Martin Richard, 29-year-old Krystle Campbell, 23-year-old Lingzi Lu and 26-year-old Sean Collier, as well as the almost 200 injured victims from Monday's bombings.
Information used from Mark Arsenault/Boston Globe, David Abel, Travis Andersen, Martin Finucane, Globe staff/Boston Globe, Alex Kay/Bleacher Report, Matt Smith and Thom Patterson/CNN.com, Steve Peoples and Jay Lindsey/AP-Boston Globe, Boston.com
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