The third Monday in April is a holiday in the state of Massachusetts.
It’s known as Patriots’ Day and it’s highlighted by the annual running of the Boston Marathon and some late morning, Boston Red Sox baseball at Fenway Park. The Boston Marathon represents a sense of personal achievement — but in its 117th running, it tragically turned into a sense of mass fear.
Two bombs exploded near the finish line of the Boston Marathon on Monday, killing three, injuring well over 100 innocent spectators and sending thousands and thousands of fans and runners scrambling to safety.
Amid the terrorist attack and tragedy that one of the country’s oldest cities has now endured — heroes emerged on Patriots’ Day.
From the first responders and the medical personnel on the scene to the inspiring stories like the one of former New England Patriots lineman Joe Andruzzi — the city of Boston responded.
The Boston Marathon however, will unfortunately never be the same. You see it’s more than just a mid-April road race, it’s the world’s oldest annual marathon. It began in 1896 and it’s history spans 117 years. The event attracts roughly 500,000 spectators each year, making it New England’s most widely viewed sporting event. The 26.2 miles from Hopkinton to Boston is supposed to represent hard work and dedication. It’s supposed to be a day of pride and personal achievement — keep in mind that most runners are even participating to raise money for charities.
In 2013 — all that was taken away. Over 17,000 runners finished the event on Monday, Apr. 16, just as millions have done in the past 117 years, but in one horrific and cowardly moment — that history was forever changed.
Among the dead was an eight year old boy from Dorchester, a section of Boston located just south of the city. The Boston Globe reported on Tuesday morning that his father finished the race, but that was just minutes before the bomb exploded. The little boy’s sister reportedly lost a leg and his mother suffered brain injuries. It was supposed to be a special day for this family — it quickly turned into a nightmare.
Since 2001, the city of Boston has celebrated seven professional sports championships. But in a sporting event that the city does not root for a winner, the town comes out to simply celebrate and support another form of personal achievement.
Boston was not rooting for another Tom Brady touchdown on Monday. They were not hoping for a Paul Piece step back jumper. They were supporting the world’s oldest annual marathon. It’s a day in which the average, unheralded individuals put their hard work and dedication on display — to the support of thousands.
Boston has always believed in their sports teams and now they will believe in their ability to respond from such a horrific tragedy. I am from the Boston area. I have seen the people of Boston show pride in their city before — and now more than ever that comes to the forefront.
Amid a tragic, terrorist attack on one of the country’s oldest sporting events — Believe in Boston.
Follow Paul Seaver on Twitter: @PaulSeaverRS