Exactly one year ago today, which was 7 days after the Boston Marathon bombing and 3 days after the terrorist responsible was caught, I wrote a post called Reclamation describing my experience of the attack and the harrowing days that followed. This post is my follow-up to that one.
Every year on April 19th, a 21 gun salute takes place at dawn at the North Bridge in Concord, Massachusetts, the site of the Shot Heard ‘Round the World. The salute commemorates the anniversary of the 1775 battle that began the Revolutionary War and eventually led to the birth of our United States of America.
Though it was a very early wakeup call for a Saturday morning, H and I managed to make it over to the Bridge to take in the ceremony this past weekend.
During the benediction and reading of accounts of April 19, 1775, I found my mind wandering back to April 19th of last year, the day of one of the largest manhunts in history. It was in our car around 5:30 in the morning, on our way over to the North Bridge that H and I first learned that one bomber was dead and that the other was being heatedly pursued by the authorities. It was somewhat eerie to be standing there in the cold dawn, saluting the flag in memory of one of the earliest expressions of American freedom, while a few miles away the hunt was on to overtake the latest incarnation of someone trying to take it away.
I still find myself in awe sometimes of the fact that the bomber was actually caught. The sheer courage and tenacity of the local, state, and federal authorities in pursuing him evokes in me a deep sense of patriotism and pride.
After the Dawn Salute on Saturday, it was time to face the fact that only two days remained until I was going to go back to the Marathon.
Obviously, staying home was never an option. Doing so would feel too much like giving in and letting the terrorists win. And of course, I knew that security was going to be insanely tight. Nonetheless, I’d be lying if I said I didn’t have some reservations about going into the city yesterday for the Marathon.
But go I did, and spent the day by Fenway, just before the 40K mark. It was a great spot to see Rita Jeptoo pass by in a flash on her way to breaking the woman’s course record.And of course, Meb!! Check me out on TV cheering him on (I’m the one in the white coat just to the left of center screen!):For the next several hours after the lead runners came through, I stayed outside to watch and encourage thousands upon thousands of runners as they went by. During that time, I vacillated between ecstatic moments of cheering and high fiving the runners, and moments where I became silent and had to force myself to take deep breaths because I was becoming overly emotional. I’m not sure exactly how to describe the emotion; it was sort of a mix of deep sadness about what happened last year, and anger at the fact that someone actually tried to spoil this day for all time.
Well, it definitely isn’t spoiled. But…it also isn’t quite the same.
As with every Marathon Monday, the city, and the tens of thousands of people who came out to enjoy it, was in great spirits yesterday. But the reminders of the terrible tragedy of last year were everywhere…in the quadruply aggressive police presence (compared to other years), in the security checkpoints stationed all around, in the National Guardsmen who ran without their traditional backpacks (no packs whatsoever were allowed), in the omnipresent signs and t-shirts bearing the slogans “Boston Strong” and “No more hurting people.”
I’m not sure one year is enough time to allow for the necessary level of recovery and regrowth after something like the Marathon bombing. I’m not sure that any amount of time will truly be enough. What’s important is that there are signs of growth and healing all around us if we can only remember to look for them.
No more hurting people. Peace.