To be honest, I had no idea that the Boston Marathon was going on this week nor did I realize the cultural significance it held in that part of the country. B mentioned “What’s happening on Boston??” in a random email early Monday afternoon and because I had closed Twitter (this doesn’t happen often), I had to open it back up, but didn’t have to scroll down far to figure out what was going on. The news was everywhere. Two bombs had gone off near the finish line.
CNN Breaking News (@cnnbrk) April 15, 2013
A few days later, well over 100 are reported injured (with lots of amputations and surgeries) and there have been 3 deaths (one of a little boy… his parents). For me personally, I’ve been following the news and stories and now have a better understanding of the city, its culture, and what the Marathon meant, thanks especially to Bill Simmons’ tweets, post on Grantland, and Steven Colbert‘s really poignant intro (should I be embarrassed to admit this?).
Best way I can explain it: Marathon Monday is sacred in and around Boston. You spend it with friends and family. It's more than a holiday.—
Bill Simmons (@BillSimmons) April 15, 2013
I didn’t realize it started in 1897, the world’s oldest marathon. I didn’t realize it was regularly held on a weekday (Patriot’s Day) and people took off work to be there. I didn’t realize that much of the city would go watch or cheer for complete strangers at the finish line. I didn’t realize what it meant.
The Bruins-Sabre hockey game a couple days later was the first major event what the Marathon (the Celtics game was cancelled). This is the most beautiful version of the Star Spangled Banner I have ever heard. Hearing every person sing the National Anthem at the top of their lungs really, really moves. I can’t even imagine being in a room full of people like this who’ve just gone through the same thing together, singing about the bombs bursting in air…
This article from the New Yorker is a great read. It commends the volunteers, medics, and hospitals of Boston (and the nation) on its fast response and to highlight how much of our perspective and preparation has changed for when crazy things like this happen. Hope for the best, plan for the worst.
I also highly recommend reading and meditating over Tony Reinke’s article at Desiring God that describes how so many of us felt (or still feel) with a strong, repeated exhortation to pray, pray, pray. To pray for the victims and the families. To pray for the churches (and those in them). To pray for the perpetrators (click through for the full explanation if you need a “why”).
Next year, there will be another Boston Marathon, Lord willing, and it will be different (because big scary things always require change), but it will be good. It will be the people of Boston making a big, bold statement to the world. I have no doubt runners from across the country will make the trek to be part of that statement, as will others who join the rest of Boston as spectators and supporters of the race. For the first time in my life, I look forward to the Boston Marathon.