My friends and I were just sitting in a bar enjoying some beers when we received a text from a friend asking where we were.
We assumed she had gotten out of work early and was going to join us. The text that followed was something we never were expecting. “There have been two explosions at the finish line,” it read.
The finish line of the Boston Marathon is what she meant. It’s a Boston tradition. Every year on Patriot’s Day, the most elite runners from around the world come to the city to run one of the most grueling marathons. My friends and I were about a mile and a half away from the finish line.
What followed were frantic texts messages and calls to our loved ones to let them know we were alright. Then walking away from the city to get a ride from a friend since the T was shutting down. All you could hear was the distinct sound of ambulance sirens and helicopters.
When I finally got home, I logged on to my Twitter account to see the hashtag #PrayForBoston had gone viral. Once seeing the hashtag, my anger began to boil. I wasn’t angry because I didn’t appreciate the sentiment behind it. I did. I was angry because I had seen this too many times before. The request for sympathetic prayers and heartfelt wishes to the victims of terrorists’ acts and mass shootings. Pray for NYC, Pray for Virginia Tech, Pray for Aurora and Pray for Sandy Hook. It seems this country has been doing a lot of praying lately. I just never thought I would have to pray for my own city.
I wish I could write articulately what this cowardly attack to my city means to me. I can’t. Frankly, I’m tired, sad and just at loss for words.
However, I can tell you what Boston means to me.
Boston is where I grew up. Boston is where I received my education. Boston is where I first fell in love. Boston is where I met my best friends. Boston made me into the woman I am today.
I am a true Boston girl in every sense of the word. I cried myself to sleep in 2003 when the Red Sox loss to the Yankees in the ALCS and cried again in 2004 when we finally won. When I am really excited or angry about something, I tend to use the word “wicked” way too frequently. I get annoyed when I see Hollywood actors butcher our accents in movies. Dunkin Donuts has cured one too many hangovers for me.
Boston is the reason why I am tough, resilient and witty. Fall in Boston has taught me to always marvel at beauty as crimson and golden leaves blanket the Common. Boston sports have taught me that passion can make you crazy but it is never something to shy away from. The Green Line has taught me patience and to have a sense of humor because no matter how much earlier you plan to travel, you will never get to where you are going on time when on the Green Line.
Boston has seen me at my best and at my worst. If Boylston Street could talk it would tell you about the time I passed out drunk in a McDonald’s on St. Patrick’s Day. Mass. Ave would tell you about the time I shared my first kiss with my first love on Harvard Bridge with the Prudential Center and John Hancock building twinkling in the background. Lansdowne Street would tell you about the time my dad told me my mom had cancer as we entered Fenway Park to watch the Sox play.
What I’m really saying is; Boston is home.
I tell you all what Boston means to me because I am not the only one. There are thousands and thousands of Bostonians that feel the same way about this quirky, colorful city we call home. Right now, Boston is the most famous city in the world for actions beyond our control. However, I don’t want people to think of Boston and think of those cowardly acts that took place. I want people to think of Boston and think of the pride, passion and perseverance. All of the things that make Boston the greatest place to call home.
So, I leave you with this; Believe in Boston.