Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Boston Strong-Two years later

Today marks the second anniversary of the Boston bombings of April 15, 2013.  So much has happened over the last years- Meb (an American) winning last year and just recently the guilty verdict.  

The city of Boston has much healing going on still as do the survivors, victims and their families and friends along with the rest of the country especially us, runners.  Boston will mark the second anniversary of the 2013 marathon bombings Wednesday with a subdued remembrance that includes a moment of silence, the pealing of church bells and a call for kindness.
Mayor Marty Walsh and other officials will raise commemorative banners on Boylston Street early Wednesday. A moment of silence follows at 2:49 p.m., marking the time the first of two bombs exploded near the finish line April 15, 2013. Church bells will then ring throughout the city.
Mayor Walsh has also declared April 15 "One Boston Day," a new tradition meant to honor the city's resilience and spread goodwill.  People are encouraged to share their random acts of kindness using the Twitter hashtag OneBostonDay. The city has also launched a website - One Boston Day.
 April 15, 2013:  Do you remember where you were when you heard the news of the bombing at the Boston marathon? We all heard in horror of this tragic event at one of the most iconic running venues. As a first year runner , I was still learning about the history of the Boston marathon along with the dedication and acceptance into running this historic event.  I was at work that day and remember asking for a break-crying over what happened even though I didn't know anyone personally who was running in the marathon. This year I am proud to say that I have many friends running in the marathon wishing them good luck as they cross the finish line.   As runners, we are all one community-united by our sense of well-being and accomplishment, wonderful friends and memories.  We are so strong as a community; one of the many reasons why this tragedy struck all of our hearts, passions and accomplishments with overwhelming grief.  

    In the immediate aftermath of the bombings, Boston Strong was a mantra for the city and the world. If we repeated it, vocalized it, tweeted and hashtagged it enough, it would actually give us strength to get through the tragedy. After the initial shock of the trauma, Boston Strong became an anthem, a badge that the City of Boston could wear to show solidarity in the strength of our community.  It became a way that we could identify the heroic actions of first responders and the brave rehabilitation of survivors.
   What is Boston Strong? What is Strength? I look at all the individual moments, hours, and days when we as a running community have struggled with the idea of how reactions and coping mechanisms fit in with the definition of Boston Strong. It can’t be a show of strength to stifle or lock away sadness. It has to be healthy to connect with emotions and understand the tragedy that two bombs can inflict. Strength can’t mean being in control of emotions like an automaton, rather understanding that life – especially in the wake of tragedy – is an unpredictable emotional journey that demands much of our focus and energy. Strength is not forcing the body to endure injury or trauma, rather understanding the damage inflicted and how we need to heal.  As runners we all support each other in our quests-wonderful  or tragic-we are invincible together.  

    As April 15th and April 21st rapidly approach, the picture of our journey is becoming more defined. I value moments of sadness because they show that I am receptive to emotion. I appreciate the tears and sorrow because they show that I am sensitive to a community that is continuing to heal.  Boston Strong doesn't mean that we face trauma with a stone face, or lock away tears, so we don’t appear weak. Boston Strong is about how we get from point A to point B – the ups and downs, the despair and the hope, and the story it tells as we as runners support each other from the start line in Hopkinton to crossing the finish line on Boylston Street. The pain, tears, stress, sorrow, hope and inspiration are a burden shared by a community - that is how we are able to cope as individuals. That is Boston Strong.

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