Unless you’ve been living under a rock, there’s been some crazy shit happening up here this past week. I don’t need to rehash it, because you can all turn on any news channel and get the idea.
Unlike the events of 9/11, this one hit much closer to home. First, there’s the physical proximity. I don’t live in Boston, but I am within close reach, being only 30 miles away. When I get away from New England, I tell people I’m from “near Boston” because it’s easier to state proximity to a major city rather than telling people you’re from a state without a major city, which usually just invites blank looks.
Second, I have friends who live in Boston. When I heard that the city had shelter-in-place orders, my thoughts immediately went to those friends. They quickly confirmed their safety via social media, and continued to update throughout the day, but of course I was still worried for them because no one knew what would happen.
And then there’s the day of. Being so close to the city, it’s not unusual that one of my friends or family from up here would go into the city for the day. And that day, one of my friends was in the city, taking his son to Fenway Park for the first time. When the news broke and shit got real, I texted him to see if he was ok and quickly got a short text back confirming. Later his Facebook update told of how they had to walk 3 miles from Kenmore Square to North Station, but they did it safely and were able to make it home in time for dinner.
I did end up breaking down that night. See, my friend’s son is the same age as the youngest victim. THAT is what really brought it home for me.
I continued to fight back tears as the week went on, not only because I kept thinking about the victims and my friends’ proximity to the blasts, but also because of the Boston pride that emerged. Boston Strong. Everywhere I looked, people were refusing to back down. Hilarious pictures about Boston’s resilience showed up on Facebook. Tributes dominated sporting events all over the country, and every team became a part of Red Sox Nation.
Then Friday happened. Boston and surrounding cities shut down after a deadly rampage. Friends were stuck at home, our corporate office was closed, and everyone I know was glued to the news, hoping that the suspect would be found and we could breathe again. Finally, that evening, they got him. I cried again. Cried because I was proud of the law enforcement officers that didn’t give up until they caught this guy. Cried because I have close friends and family who are in law enforcement. I’m thankful for what they do for us every single day, and proud that they’re amongst those that are closest to me. And of course I cried because of my love for Boston, a city that showed the world we don’t let anything get us down.
On Monday morning as I drove to work, one week after the blasts, I passed an electronic message board that said only one thing:
We are Boston Strong.