There aren’t too many people or moments in the world that make me smile. It’s not because I’m a stoic person or that I have a negative world view. I choose to be happy on my own despite a lot of the negative things I encounter because it’s just a healthy way to live. However, the level of goodness on display that has the ability to make me happy even on the occasional days when I’m not inclined to be is something I very rarely encounter. It’s certainly a short list of people in my own life: my high school swim coach, a few friends at school, and my family. With that said, the people of Boston achieved that level of goodness on Monday.
Nothing restores my belief in the good nature of people more than the way Americans respond to tragedy, and I use the term American not as an ethnicity or nationality, but as a way of life. My entire family immigrated to this country in some from or another within the last 125 years. My ancestors left Italy because they were poor and Ireland because of famine. There is no one in this country who understands more of what it means to be an American than those who have suffered and come here in hope of opportunity. Immigrants, whatever part of the world they may be from, all have something to teach us about not only their own cultures, backgrounds and experiences but also about ourselves.
Patriots Day in Boston is the quintessential representation of all of that. It celebrates what’s best about America with the people who best know America – those who have come from all over the country and even the world to be here. The one thing I can tell you from my patriots day experience is this: picture a giant neighborhood get together except over an entire city rather than just on a street corner. On the train ride in, you catch the folks headed in for the 11 am baseball game at Fenway Park. There are numerous shops, malls, historical sites to visit that contribute to what makes this day so special for families. You encounter incredible hospitality everywhere you go such that you feel like you know everybody on the street even though you’ve never met them. There’s a sense of safety, security and love.
Along the 26th mile of the marathon, Boylston street is lined with restaurants and shops. People are eating dinners with a view of the runners making their way down toward the finish. Others are scampering down crowded sidewalks to get a better view of the race or simply to get to another part of the city.
At the time the bombings happened near the finish line of the marathon, it was nearly 2 hours after the fastest runners completed the course. The primary demographic of people finishing the race were the heroes in society: those raising millions of dollars for countless charities and also those who had given their lives in the service of others in one form or another who were either disabled or were just simply trying to write a new amazing chapter in life for themselves. This was an attack on a group of people who work tirelessly to make life for people like you and me better. In reality, we were all attacked, and I don’t care to speculate who committed this act. All I know is that whoever it was stood against everything that I as a person stand for. I also know that God is in control and that justice will be served in the way that He sees as most appropriate.
Most importantly, my belief in the incredible goodness of people was reaffirmed once again. Heroes were made in New York in the moment it was attacked nearly 12 years ago, and in a smaller but just as important way, heroes were made in Boston. For this reason I know that terrorism of any form: domestic, foreign, organized or random, will never reign victorious over the hearts of the Good people who live here. God Bless You All.