For a number of years my husband's band, Beatlejuice, played at the Finish Line of the Boston Marathon. It was a rite of spring and a much anticipated event. Every year we, along with hundreds of thousands of other people, would make the trek into the city. Some years bundled up in winter coats and gloves and other years sporting t-shirts, shorts and flip-flops (this is New England, after all) but it didn't matter what Mother Nature had to offer us because the Marathon is a wildly popular and much loved event for so many reasons.
It's a local event that welcomes participants from across the globe. It's an athletic event that welcomes those with disabilities. In fact, for years two of the most popular participants have been Rick and Dick Hoyt, a father and son team. Rick has cerebral palsy and his dad, Dick pushes him in his wheelchair. It's an athletic event in which there is as much, if not more, support for the amateurs as there is for the professionals. It's an athletic event that is also, in many cases, a charitable event. Many of the amateurs running are doing so to raise money for a cause near and dear to their hearts. Dana Farber had a huge group running this year.
The Marathon has always been a celebration of determination, strength and sheer grit. So, I don't believe it is any accident that it has always been held on Patriots' Day, a holiday which celebrates independence and liberty through the commemoration of the Battles of Lexington and Concord, the first battles of the Revolutionary War.
And, I think one of the things that adds to the distress of this horrific event is that whoever planned this chose not just a geographic location but a specific event. An event, as I mentioned above, that celebrates strength, determination and grit and that is held on a holiday that celebrates independence, liberty and freedom. I don't believe that is a coincidence and I find it disturbing.
But, despite the horror the day held, I also saw much that is heartening...people, beyond the first responders, running into the fray to help in any way they could...pulling the gates and seating out of the way so the first responders could get to the victims; ripping off sweatshirts and tshirts and belts to use as tourniquets; picking victims up and carrying them to safety; searching for hours to help others find family members or friends they had been separated from. And later on, a list was started that now has many, many people willing to take folks in who are stranded, offering up their guest rooms, their couches, their air mattresses. Offering, in many cases, to come pick them up.
Yes, I believe the light still outweighs the dark!
As for us, we didn't go in to the Marathon this year and all family and friends that work in town or were attending the Marathon have been accounted for. We are fortunate.
My heart goes out to those families that were not so fortunate.