The haunting images of April 15, 2013 have begun to resonate once again as Boston prepares for this year’s marathon. Yet despite the sorrow that still brings a tear to the eye when we remember Krystle Campbell, Martin William Richard, Lingzi Lu and police officer Sean Collier, who died that day as a result of a terrorist act, the defiance and resilience of the human spirit resounds and will be on display this Monday in the form of athletic competition.
At the sound of the starter’s pistol Boston, and indeed the country, will have come full circle from that horrible day. Boston Strong has become a somewhat hackneyed cliché but for one more day the legacy of that slogan will ring true. Sporting events often help us through difficult times and a city as rich in athletic history as Boston fills its citizens with a sometimes profound love for competition. In the aftermath of the marathon bombings some of the most moving moments came before and after Boston Bruins and Red Sox games. People felt a sense of pride as our professional athletes became more than over paid man-childs. We watched, almost in disbelief, as a Red Sox team only a year removed from one of its worst seasons, drop any pretense of ego and truly play for us. And somehow, as if the sporting gods knew it would be oh so perfect an ending for a city crippled but not defeated by grief, the Sox won it all. It seemed so fitting. This year’s marathon will continue our catharsis. Thirty-five thousand people are expected to participate in the run and fans rooting them on will be astronomical in their numbers. And many of those participating or cheering from the sidelines will be victims of the bombings in 2013. Or, perhaps victims is the wrong way to describe them. Survivors seems more fitting. Survivors, who through sheer force of will and the unceasing encouragement of family, friends and strangers alike remind us of how precious life is. And so, something as simple as a road race has become a symbol of perseverance, even for those who don’t participate. We won’t forget but we move on with our heads held high. That’s our country. That’s Boston. BostonStrong.
Contributed to the Masters Touch blog by Matthew Hurley.