For quite a while now, I’ve been looking to get back into the mix on TVM, but haven’t been able to find anything to write about. The time was coming, but it wasn’t supposed to be today.
Today was supposed to be a great day.
Today is Patriots’ Day; which is a Monday that Bostonians, whether truly from Boston, from Massachusetts generally, or a transplant in areas far away, look forward to every year. In fact, it has now been seven years since I spent Patriots’ Day in Massachusetts. Yet, every year I tell myself “this is the year” – a common sentiment for Red Sox fans everywhere – that I get back home for the holiday that is as unique to Massachusetts as it is revered.
The idea is simple – the greatest race in all the land kicks off in Hopkinton, MA as more people then you ever think can fit on a small road in a small town. They, along with supporters and fans, congregate to cheer them on as they embark on one of the biggest challenges of their lives. As the Boston Marathon gets under way, the hometown Boston Red Sox prepare to take the field for their lone morning first-pitch of the season, always an 11:05AM start-time at Fenway Park. The goal is for the hometown team to win, and the fans to take to the streets in celebration, while cheering on the inspirational runners giving all they have to complete their 26.2 miles on Boylston Street. Patriots’ Day is a day that those born and raised in Massachusetts aspire to be in the state with friends and family, enjoying the day outside and amongst each other. Those who aren’t are envious of the ones able to be there. It’s the greatest day that Boston has, every single year.
Don’t believe me? Jared, in Los Angeles, left me, in Connecticut, a voicemail this afternoon; with his first sentence being, “Happy Patriots’ Day, Deen!” It’s the feeling of camaraderie and community that make the day so special. Everyone’s excited. Everybody is happy. All are celebrating.
That’s what makes today’s events so devastating. Something so beloved, so cherished, will never be the same. Hours after that voicemail and shortly after a 3-2 win by the Red Sox, explosions rocked the finish line of the Marathon, killing some and injuring many, many more. Patriots’ Day will never be Patriots’ Day again. It will forever be marred by this tragedy witnessed today. We don’t know who did this, or why it happened, but does it matter? Our holiday has been taken from us. There will now forever be moments of silence before future Boston Marathons. There will always be far too much security for what should be a celebration. Parents will now think twice, and three times, and four times, before allowing their kids to go celebrate that day-off from school with their friends at the Marathon. Truthfully, I will always think twice before heading downtown to the finish line, or Heartbreak Hill, or even to Hopkinton for the start of the race as I’ve done so many times before.
In his comments to the United States at around 6:10PM EST, President Barack Obama said, “Boston is a tough and resilient town; so are its people. I’m supremely confident that Bostonians will pull together, take care of each other and move forward as one proud city.” I am one of those proud Bostonians. I don’t like hearing negative things, or seeing negative things, about my hometown. Following September 11, I remember how much I despised hearing about the flights having originated at Logan Airport because it painted Boston in a bad light. While today is nothing similar to 9/11 in the extent to what took place (or the form), it’s another day that I regret the publicity my city is receiving. This isn’t Boston.
The Boston Police and Fire Department, and other responders, will be painted in a tremendous light for their heroics, as they should. God bless them, and all those affected both directly and indirectly by the horrific acts that occurred today. I too, truthfully, am blessed that all my friends and family in the Boston area are safe and accounted for. Yet, this is unthinkable.
Patriots’ Day is changed forever. My Patriots’ Day, your Patriots’ Day…our Patriots’ Day. It will never be the same. That is a terrible thing, and I’m sick over it. I’m sad, and I’m angry. Sitting in front of my computer as I called and messaged my friends and family in the Boston area today, I felt nothing but helplessness just waiting for updated numbers to come in from Massachusetts General Hospital and the surrounding medical centers.
This is not Patriots’ Day. This is not Marathon Monday. This was not supposed to happen in Boston.
Today was not a great day.