The city’s name used to conjure up such happy images. Following the 1776 patriotic trail as a child. An extended weekend as teenager with my mother – buying craft stamps at Faneuil Hall that are still in the original plastic packaging, too precious in memory for me to ever use. Strolling the cobbled streets as a newlywed with my husband.
While, not from Boston, in a way I’ve grown up there.
Now, like the date, 9/11, Boston and the marathon will have different meanings. It seems our lives are dotted with words and events that now mean something else. Oklahoma City. The Atlanta Olympics. Places and events of joy, now shadowed by anger, tragedy, and sadness.
Terrorists think they scored a victory on Monday – but they’re wrong.
We Americans are a different breed. We still talk about the atrocities that incited war two hundred years ago because these were the catalysts that formed our nation, defined us as a people, and motivated us to higher purpose. We don’t forget, but we do survive.
Like the painful hair shirts medieval monks once wore, this pain will transmute our fury into strength – bringing us together, reminding us of all that is good in America, reaffirming our belief in our nation and the one religion that binds each and every one of us: Democracy.
I send my love and prayers to each of the victims, their families, and friends. Next year, I hope that I will be there at the marathon, waving you on to the finish line, proving we will not be afraid. In the meantime, in the words of JFK and Michael Graham of the Boston Herald:
“Ich bin ein Bostonian.”