Monday, April 14, 2014

A Year Later, A Year Stronger

Photo via NPR
It’s no surprise that I wake up early and today I took advantage of the early hour to return to the Thinking Cup Coffee Bar to get some much neglected writing work done. The sun came out before six o’ clock this morning and it seemed fitting, as all of Boston is preparing for an important day. Tomorrow is the one year anniversary of the marathon bombing and there’s no escaping that. Specials have been airing on the news, people are out in their marathon jackets, and everyone is discussing where they were that day, what they were doing, and how they felt.

As I walked through the Boston Common around 7 this morning, I couldn’t help but notice each person I passed. Every person who is on their morning run, I wonder if they were also running that day. I wonder if they are preparing for the run that will occur a week from today. I passed a man walking on crutches and it was clear that his injury was recent, but it still made me think of those who were injured on that day. Many of them are still on crutches and their walking will be impaired for the rest of their lives.

On April 15th, 2013 I was at home in Norwalk. To be exact, I was driving past the country club on Duck Pond Road, with AJ in my passenger seat when I got a phone call from my oldest sister. The call came over the speakerphone in my car and she said, “I just wanted to tell you we’re ok. There was a bombing in Boston but Dad and I are ok.” It didn’t process right away. They had been at the marathon, at the finish line, but had decided to leave and walk back up the hill to their house. By the time they got home, the bombings were already on the news. She said they were ok and I believed her because I heard her voice but I still didn’t believe her or really understand. How could there have been a bombing? Why would somebody ever want to do that to the city and people of Boston? On Patriot’s Day and at the marathon, no less. There was no reason for it and because I couldn’t comprehend that action, I couldn’t understand that it was real. Once we got off the phone with my sister, I turned on the radio. It didn't matter which station I tuned into because they were all playing the same audio. It was the booming of the explosions and the screams that followed. It started to feel real. 

There’s a man sitting in the café near me, wearing the iconic and recognizable, yellow and blue marathon jacket, telling the woman he's with about that day. He’s telling the story of a woman he met running that day. He’s planning on running in this marathon and he is saying that he will be careful. Everyone will be but I know that even if people are scared of something happening this year, no one will let that deter them. Boston is strong, as the rest of the world has come to know over the past year. And Bostonians, every single person who considers themselves a Bostonian regardless of address, is brave. The whole city, the state of Massachusetts, and the rest of the United States have been so supportive are coming together tomorrow to remember what happened. And they will come together a week from today, to protect the runners and the spectators and to prove to anyone who doubts their strength and resolve that Boston is stronger, braver, and better than any small person who wants to hurt others. That day changed the city but like any devastating event that has happened in the U.S. it has only made Boston a stronger and prouder city. It brought people together and that is the greatest blessing that has come from a terrible day. 

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