As a daughter of Massachusetts, I’ve always had a soft spot for the third Monday in April. When I was young, it meant a day off from school, sometimes a Red Sox game, always the Marathon. If the day had a soundtrack, it was a mix of spring birds chirping, crowds on Heartbreak Hill cheering and a little colonial fife and drum music playing in the background. When my son was born on Patriots’ Day, I remember being glad of that. It seemed like a good day, an auspicious day.
Patriots’ Day 2013 was not a good day. For those who love Boston, yesterday brought outrage. How dare you do this to our city, to one of our most hallowed traditions and most of all to our people–our children, our citizens, our guests.
Boston will carve meaning out of this. The stories of heroism went into circulation quickly and they will multiply. Both the designated first responders and yesterday’s accidental ones were, by all accounts, magnificent.
As it happened, I had dinner last night (a birthday dinner for the Patriots’ Day-born son) at mile 13 on the Marathon route. When I got there, the streets looked the way they always do post-race–rimmed with the discarded water bottles and paper cups that passing runners toss as they try to stay hydrated. After dinner, it took us longer than usual to reach the highway to head back home.
It was a slow ride because we got caught behind a street-sweeper. Normally this might have made me impatient, but there was comfort in watching a little bit of the clean-up last night. A solitary, methodical street-sweeper driver, quietly working late into the night. Not able to sweep away the day’s horror, but cleaning up and setting right the portion of road he could.
We pray for the dead and the injured and the anxious. We pray for those who witnessed the trauma. We pray for those now working on the investigation. We pray for all public servants. We give thanks for those who brought comfort and medical attention on the scene yesterday and for those, who in so many silent, tireless ways, are working to help a beloved city restore order and peace. We pray for you, Boston.