When I graduated from high school, I moved to Haverhill, Mass. On my days off, I’d sometimes drive to Boston and take in the sights--and there are lots of them.
The place is full of history, and this is far from the first time terrorists have set off bombs in Boston. It’s far from the first time blood has been shed there, and Boston will not be shaken by this. Like a broken arm, the city will heal back stronger than it was before. The people of Boston have grit, and take hardship in stride.
It was horribly cold when I moved there in the winter. The people I lived with laughed when I complained of the cold. I wore three sweaters when they only wore one. When spring came, I was overwhelmed by the green that appeared everywhere. It was as if carpets of green shag filled with all shades of blooms were rolled out when the snow finally melted for good. April is a beautiful month in Boston.
I attended the Boston Marathon once in the three years I lived there. It was an unforgettable experience as I watched the athletes pass by. First, there were the runners from Africa, with their long graceful legs. They made running a marathon look so easy. Then, there were the wheelchair bound participants. Seeing them make their way past, arms pumping like machines and pure determination on their faces as they passed, I can still feel the lump in my throat that was there that day as I cheered them on.
Then, there was a gap until the first of the rest of the pack began to make their way up “Heartbreak Hill”, where we waited for them, cheering as loud as we could. We never saw anyone give up. They’d run for miles, and now had to climb, and they made it.
While trolling around on Wordpress.com, I found dozens of sentiments like this one, expressed on Muffy’s fitness blog:
“Something about this isn’t going to stop me from running and that the people behind this didn’t win. They’re only going to make us band together as a nation and be stronger. Boston Strong.”
I’m no runner, but I can tell you this, I respect and admire them, and as the mother of athletes, I’ve become pretty good at cheering. Those of the rest of us who don’t run competitively need to follow suit. We need to take our lawn chairs out to races and be there to cheer the runners on. We can’t decide to stay home, watch the race on television, and stay “safe”. The people who cheer are an integral part of the race. Those runners need that boost of energy and inspiration that sometimes only we can give.
Monday night, we’ll all have a chance to do our part to shout out to the terrorists of the world that we won’t be broken. Runners of Barton County will be running a three mile run/walk for Boston at Vet’s Park at 6 p.m. near the playground. Check out their facebook page by the same name. Turn out in race shirts or blue and yellow, and cheer!
Seeing all those pictures of the people of Boston, and the photos of the neighborhoods where people were congregating when the race was abruptly ended brought back a flood of memories of that wonderful April day so many years ago. I look forward more than ever to more in the future.