This morning I painted my nails in blue and yellow, carefully outlining the logo of the BAA on my fingernail. I even drew a little finish line on my thumb. You see, the Boston Marathon has long been one of my favorite events of the year. I always get emotional thinking about it – the power of human bodies, the crowds of spectators, the large and small kindnesses that I always see along the course as people support and care for each other.
This morning I met my friend Shirah and her beautiful daughter, and together we watched the race for several hours. We stood just shy of the 24 mile mark, in Coolidge Corner. We watched as the elite athletes ran past, a blur of color, all strength and speed and endurance. We cheered as the wheel chair racers went by, as the qualified runners began to fly by in packs, and as the charity runners all made their way towards mile 26. We cheered, we hooted, we shouted, calling out any name we could see, even if it was just “go blue shirt!” And all around us were people, smiling and clapping, supporting friends and strangers alike. We were all participating together, feeling inspired and connected. We laughed at the man running in a hot dog costume, were amazed at the barefoot runner, and felt touched when runners stopped to help a tired friend who had fallen down. As I said to Shirah this morning, the Boston Marathon makes me feel so proud to be a person in this world.
I do not know why somebody would detonate bombs. And I am angry, so completely angry, that somebody would try to twist the spirit of this day. I am sad for our city and for the hundreds of people who have been so shaken by this violence. I do not know who would do something like this – and I don’t care who it was. It’s not about the bombers and their cause or their perceived self-importance. It’s about us banding together – it’s what the marathon itself is about.
What I do know is that runners who crossed the finish line kept running to donate their blood. I know that hundreds of volunteers stayed to help the victims, carrying those who were thrown by the blasts. I know that police and first responders ran to the aid of those who were injured. I know that literally thousands of people have volunteered their homes to stranded marathoners, thousands of people who came to experience what Boston is all about.
I know that this place is my home. I know that the same kindnesses we all displayed on the marathon course are being amplified by the millions of people who call this home. I know that there is community here, and there is hope.