I was saddened and infuriated as I learned about the explosions at the Boston Marathon finish line yesterday. Growing up in a Boston suburb, the Marathon has always held special meaning for me. It was always the first Monday of April vacation. No school, no homework, no obligations, it was the start of a full week of freedom.
My brother and I would sit in front of the tv watching the race, wondering how Kenyans could run so fast, being in awe of Dick Hoyt pushing his son's wheelchair for 26.2 miles, looking for funny signs or great costumes from the spectators. We watched records be broken, triumphs be had, and the huge smiles of everyone crossing the finish line.
A few years ago, my uncle ran Boston and my family went in to watch. They talk about that day with such joy. There's just something in the air on Marathon Monday. Anything is possible.
I've had friends and family run that race. I've watched it on television. I've known so many people who spend every year on the sidelines, cheering for all the thousands of runners.
And this is not just my experience. This is the experience of every kid growing up in the Boston area. We are all connected to the race in one way or another.
Boston isn't known for being a friendly place. We make you work a little harder for that. But once we've accepted you, we are fiercely loyal. Without question, all of yesterday's runners and spectators alike have been accepted.
Underneath all the sorrow and anger I feel for yesterday's tragedy, there is true amazement at how generous people are. The EMS workers who immediately began helping whoever they could, the Boston Police and Fire who ran into the smoke to help the injured, the countless people who donated blood, so much so that the Red Cross said their supplies were full.
Those are the people I will remember when I think about yesterday. The good.
*Also, please read Ezra Klein's piece, which is much more eloquent than mine.