I was born and raised in the suburbs of Boston, and I still live here now with my own family. The streets of Boston run through my body like veins; they pump blood straight to my heart.
I gave birth to my beloved baby boy in Boston. I toasted my wedding night in Boston. I celebrated every milestone of my life in Boston — my first field trip, my first big city apartment with my BFF, my first New Year’s Eve bash. I worked on Boylston Street in Boston, right where two explosions ripped through the flesh of my city and turned it into a battleground.
When I look at pictures of Boston, I see my reflection. Monday, my vision was blurred by clumps of mascara.
Three people are dead, including one child (my heart aches for that baby), and more than 150 people were wounded. The city streets were littered with limbs, debris, and destruction. There’s palpable fear in the air; the raw, gritty, mind-numbing terror that grips us in grief and heartache and never lets go.
This is not the Boston I know.
If you’ve never visited, Boston is a charming city that is steeped in tradition, rich with pride, and full of patriotism. Marathon Monday is who we are collectively. It’s not just a sporting event; it’s a part of everyone who calls Boston their home. I have been to the finish line at least a dozen times, spanning from when I was a little girl, desperate to hand a runner a cup of water, to an adult who couldn’t wait to have a drink (or three) of her own in celebration.
Instead of toasting the marathon runners like we usually do, we are saluting Boston’s finest for their incredible bravery. I see pictures of them running towards the raging fire balls and plumes of smoke, straight into danger — the depths of which are unknown — in a desperate attempt to preserve life, to preserve our city. The one-two blasts, just 12 seconds apart, were perfectly timed to inflict the maximum amount of mayhem.
I have a friend who merely missed being right at the finish line with her twins when the bombs detonated. She insisted on turning back for coffee, despite her husband’s repeated protests. Her caffeine addiction saved them from unspeakable horror. I am very close with a nurse at Brigham & Women’s hospital who tended to a 20-year-old woman who had both of her legs blown off. Her life as she knew it is over. Whoever did this wanted to shatter our event, our lives, and our spirit. Whoever did this wanted to break us. Whoever did this doesn’t know Boston.
I look at the heroic efforts of Boston’s finest and I see Boston.
I look at the runners who ran straight to the hospital to give blood and I see Boston.
I look at my friends checking in on neighbors, offering their homes to strangers, and posting constant messages of support, and I see Boston.
I look at my husband who insisted on driving to Logan Airport this morning to drop our teenager off for her spring break trip to Florida, and I see Boston.
I look at people yelling that terrorists messed with the wrong city, and I see Boston.
That’s the Boston I know and love. Boston was wicked awesome on Monday morning, and it’s wicked awesome today. It will be wicked awesome tomorrow, too.
We are sad. We are angry. We want answers. We want justice. But, no matter what, we are Boston. They call us “massholes” for a reason. We won’t cower to terror. We will pull together and pull through this devastation. We will remember the loved ones we’ve lost, and help those who are forever physically and mentally scarred by this horrific tragedy. The crowds will be at the Boston Marathon next year ... under tighter security, yes, but we will be there.
We are Boston.
Have you ever been to Boston?
Image via Rob Worsham