Tag Archives: Boston Strong

One Year Stronger

Sports are a funny thing. They bring people together in inexplicable ways. As a New Yorker living in Boston I can attest to the immediate friendship formed, if even just for a few seconds, when I pass a fellow NY Giants or Syracuse Orange fan. Or the head nod and smile when someone notices I’m wearing the same Bruins shirt as them in the Charlotte airport. Sports turn complete strangers into your best friends.

Sports bring people together, especially in a city as passionate about their teams as Boston. But on April 15, 2013 the Tsarnaev brothers tried to use Boston’s most historic sporting event to tear the city apart.

But these young men failed to realize just how strong Boston was. They chose to attack a city that cannot be torn apart. Weakened? Yes. Wounded? Yes. Afraid, confused, angry and sad? Absolutely. But strong enough to overcome this together.

They chose the wrong event, the wrong day and the wrong city to mess with. It’s pretty hard to break the spirit of thousands of people who have just run 26.2 miles. It’s pretty hard to come into our city on our Patriot’s Day and get away with attacking our people. Our runners, fans, residents, law enforcement officials. Our hard workers from Medford. Our grad students from China. Our 8-year-old children. Our campus police officers. No. We will shut down the entire city until we hunt you down.

I can’t believe it’s been a year since that scary, confusing, devastating, sleepless week. A year of healing and growing and becoming stronger than ever. There’s still a long way to go for the many people affected by the attack and its aftermath, but every year from here on out we will remember that day and become just a little but stronger. We will watch the clock change to 2:49 P.M. on April 15th and we’ll remember that moment that changed the best sporting event in Boston forever.

Sports will continue to bring the people of this city together. Thousands of people will continue to take to the streets of Boston the third Monday of April to celebrate a resiliency that few can fathom. A resiliency that pushed you through 26.2 miles. A resiliency that leads you to run towards an explosion to save those who may be hurt. A resiliency that keeps you going after losing one or both of your legs. We will keep getting stronger. And the city of Boston will keep on running.

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To Boston With Love

 

Happy Memorial Day, everybody!

As some of you may know, it’s free weekend at the MFA this weekend and it ends today, so I highly recommend heading on down there (go through the back door and don’t be intimidated by the line, it moves fast.) They have some pretty neat new exhibits going on. But if you want to see the new Samurai one, be prepared for probably a 45 minute wait in line.

But what I really recommend are the two Boston-related exhibits they have up this weekend! One is in the Art of the Americas wing and it features a lot of old paintings done of Boston and the surrounding area. There are some great pictures of old time downtown Boston, the beaches up at Gloucester and plenty of sunset sailboat paintings. For someone who really isn’t an art person (I spent approximately 15 minutes in the Louvre in March), this was a really cool exhibit!

And the second exhibit you have to go to is “To Boston With Love.”

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These flags are located in one of the main courtyards, hanging from the ceiling, which was a little annoying when trying to really get a good look at them, but it was very cool. Quilters from all over the world have made these little flags to show their love and support for Boston. It was started by a woman from Vancouver, BC, Canada.

You really have to go to see them all for yourself, but I of course took some pictures of my favorites.

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There were a lot of flags from Vancouver, but almost every US state was represented as well and several other countries from around the world. The names and cities are written on the back.

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“No more hurting people.”

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“Peace.”

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One Run

It wasn’t a beautiful, sunny day. There weren’t people lined up for 26.2 miles. There were bomb dogs pacing the sidewalks. It was no Patriot’s Day.

But it was perfect in every way.

Hundreds of people lined the streets between Kenmore Square and the Finish Line this morning to watch as  thousands of runners ran the last mile of the Boston Marathon. For some, it was the first time they had that chance after it was taken away from them on that early April afternoon. And for others, it was just a way to honor the lives lost and to show that we are Boston Strong.

This picture from the Boston Globe says it all:

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I think it’s great that they even carried  a Chinese flag for Lu Lingzi. We truly live in an amazing country.

Seeing them all come around that last corner was pretty special.

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This police officer was great. He never stopped clapping and giving people high fives. And it was something very special to see people run over from the other side of the road just to shake his hand and thank him.

A warm reception at the finish line:

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That last picture is right in front of where the first bomb went off. Let’s think about that for a minute. 

President Obama said it best: “They failed because the people of Boston refused to be intimidated and the people of the United States refused to be terrorized.”

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Boston Strong

The day is here. I’m finally back in Boston after a long semester abroad in Madrid. While I got several messages saying, “I’m so glad you’re not in Boston right now!” from concerned family and friends during the Boston Marathon bombing, I couldn’t help but think, ‘Man, I really kind of wish I was.’

To say that was one crazy week would be the understatement of the year. From 3,500 miles and 6 hours time difference away, it was crazy. It seems like I stayed glued to my computer and my WCVB live stream for days.

I remember sitting in my room in Madrid writing an essay thinking jealously of all the fun my friends were having in Boston. I gave up on the essay temporarily to open up Facebook and post something along the lines of, “Would give anything to be in Boston right now!!” And that’s when I saw it.

At least 20 posts on my home page with things like: “My thoughts and prayers are with Boston right now.” “I really can’t believe this, stay strong Boston.” “Saying a huge prayer for Boston right now.”

My heart dropped to my stomach.

I couldn’t imagine what had happened. As quick as my shaking fingers could manage I pulled up another tab and typed in CNN. Multiple bombs at Boston Marathon finish line.

Bombs? In Boston? On our Patriot’s Day? It had to be a mistake.

But then the pictures and videos started coming in. And then the confirmed deaths.

Helpless without a phone (not that it would have helped much that day anyway), I had to Facebook message all my friends to make sure they were okay. And I saw people all over my feed updating their statuses to let people know that they were okay. This kind of thing doesn’t happen in Boston.

But that’s when Boston’s true colors started to show.

Videos of people sprinting into essentially a war zone to help anyone they can. Police tearing down barriers that are made for the sole purpose of not being able to be torn down. People flocking to the Red Cross to donate blood or do whatever they can to help. That is Boston.

And since that moment I was glued to the TV. Whether it was watching the news or baseball games across the country playing “Sweet Caroline” or a much needed Bruins game and goosebump-inducing National Anthem. I couldn’t look away. And the 6 hour time difference started to take a toll. So when finally after a long few days I decide to pass out early and sleep in late, I wake up to headlines like Mayhem in the streets of Boston.

I was officially afraid to be away from my computer for too long. Afraid of what I’d find next time I turned it on. All of my friend’s were back in the dorm rooms on lockdown in a ghost city that I desperately missed more than ever.

We all know how the next 24 hours played out and normalcy finally started to return to the great city of Boston.

And now here we are. Over a month later. And the only evidence left of the events of that April day is this:

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The Tsarnaev brothers tried to punish the Americans, but they only brought this country, and especially this city, closer together and made us that much stronger.

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But it makes me angry as all hell that we had to lose 4 innocent, young lives in the process.

I know this is probably all old news for people who have been in Boston for the past month and a half, but I finally got down to see the bombing site and the memorial. It was a very emotional walk down Boylston St. It just makes me so angry.

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I was amazed by how big the memorial was! It just keeps getting bigger and bigger.

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So many great things there.

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My mom took this picture. If you look close you can see a glass cross with the marathon colors in the middle.

But probably one of the most meaningful pieces of the memorial, for me at least, was this sneaker someone had written on.

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Martin Richard was 8 years old and already smart enough to realize this when someone 3 times his age decided to plant a bomb at his feet. It disgusts me. But we can’t keep being angry. We have to move forward.

Eventually this memorial will have to be taken down. I don’t know who’s decision that is, but I do not envy them at all. We will never forget those 4 lost lives and hundreds of victims whose lives were changed forever. But Boston is strong and eventually it’s going to be time to start moving forward.

I am so excited for the One Run on Saturday, May 25th where runners will finally have the chance to finish that last mile of the marathon. You can bet I’ll be there screaming and cheering everyone on. They deserve it.

But for now I’m just thrilled to finally back in my city. And happy to see that the evidence truly is everywhere…we are Boston Strong.

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10k for Boston

So Sunday was pretty unforgettable. After the events in Boston, I was pretty shaken up and sad and angry and proud all at once. I miss Boston so much and can’t wait to get back there, so when I heard another Bostonian who currently lives in Madrid was organizing a 10k run for the victims of the Boston Marathon bombings I was all game!

The Madrid Marathon organizers were super supportive and allowed us to join the race for free and everything. A lot of local businesses also agreed to support us with everything from agreeing to stamp the Boston “B” on any shirts we brought in for free, buying us a cold pint of beer and buffet of food after the race, and giving prize packs for a drawing of those who ran. (I happened to win a prize pack from the Taste of America store! Woot!)

So with about a week to train we started reaching out to everyone. I sent e-mails to all the study abroad offices in the Northeastern United States (and we ended up getting an especially great turnout from BU, BC and NYU). The woman whose idea it was had bibs made for us with Boston Strong on them and I went and bought blue and yellow ribbons to pin on our shirts. It was great. It felt so nice to finally be able to do something. A bunch of us donated to One Fund Boston, but just showing up and running is something in itself.

We probably had about 40 people show up (I think the cold and early hour scared most off). Also there’s the fact that we had a week to train for 6.4 miles. It was a very cold and windy morning though. Perfect for running. Not so perfect for standing and waiting as evidenced by the picture below of us freezing our butts off before the race started.

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Handing out ribbons to everyone…

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The whole group posing in front of Starbucks. How American/Bostonian of us. Sorry Dunkin Donuts…we didn’t run on you.

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And the Starting Line.

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(Photos courtesy of Englishwarehouse.com)

And this next picture really surprised me! It didn’t look like there were this many people from the ground. Crazy!

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(Photo courtesy of Demotix.com)

And here’s a compilation of videos I took before/during/after the race because I didn’t carry around my camera obviously and my iPod only takes videos. So there ya go!

And then this is me after I got home. Still alive, but very very tired.

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It was a really great experience, but honestly there’s nothing like Boston. The number of spectators doesn’t even compare. It’s a freaking holiday in Boston! And the streets are FULL of people for the entire 26.2 miles. It wasn’t like that at all here, but oh well. It made me more and more motivated to run the Boston Marathon. If not next year, then someday. But I am definitely committed to running it now.

Krystle Campbell, Officer Sean Collier, Lingzi Lu and Martin Richard. This one was for you!

Boston Strong.

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There aren’t words.

Where do I even begin?

How can I possibly put into words the events of the last 36 hours or so? The last 5 days?

You really can’t.

At the end of the day, the facts say it all.

After the unthinkable, these men stayed in the Boston area for 5 days only to mercilessly kill an MIT campus police in cold blood.

They then tried to continue their reign of terror by shooting and throwing homemade bombs at the law enforcement officials that we hold so dear.

With Suspect 1 seriously injured, his brother ran over him to escape capture.

The city of Boston shut down the entire city and surrounding areas. Public transportation. Taxi services. An order for everyone to stay in their homes away from the windows with the doors locked.

Can you imagine that? The pictures are chilling.

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I think my mom said it best, it’s like I Am Legend.

And then, we waited.

And waited. And waited.

So many emotions throughout the entire day. I couldn’t tear myself away from the computer out of fear of what I would return to. I was sad for the loss of yet another life, Officer Sean Collier. I was angry that this 19-year-old kid somehow managed to escape in the middle of the night. I was scared.

Then came the press conference announcing that people were now free to leave their homes as long as they continue being vigilant. To me, it felt like we were giving up.

It would end up being the best decision they could have possibly made.

Let’s recap: We live in a city that posted the pictures of these 2 suspects three nights after the attack and within hours they came out of hiding. This is a city that told its people they could return to the streets and within half an hour somehow had tracked this guy down. It’s incredible.

I know I will continue to feel safe in the city of Boston. These boys did not take away my peace of mind. They only proved that you would have to be stupid to target a strong city like Boston ever again. We shut down an entire city to find them! It’s just crazy.

And while I want to give endless thanks to every single law enforcement officer involved with the events of the past 5 days, let’s not forget to thank the hundreds of doctors, nurses and other hospital staff who have been working around the clock these past 5 days to ensure that every single person who entered their hospitals, wounded at the bombings, is still alive. Almost 200 people. That’s incredible. A group of people who expected nothing more than cramped muscles and blisters turned into a war zone-like trauma team in a matter of minutes.

And most importantly, among our celebrations, let us not forget the four victims of this horrible tragedy: Martin Richard, Krystle Campbell, Lingzi Lu and Officer Sean Collier.

Also, the people of West, Texas deserve our thoughts and prayers. This awful tragedy that has now taken the lives of at least 14 people has been wrongly pushed under the rug a little as these events unfold in Boston. But we are thinking of them all and wish them the best.

The celebrations in the Commons and the moments of silence at Boylston Street last night speak volumes.

(Photos courtesy of the Daily Free Press)

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There really just aren’t words.

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We are Boston.

This is a week that I will never forget.

I have gone through so many emotions in the last 3 days.

From complete panic as I started to see the first Facebook posts popping up with people sending their prayers to Boston.

To complete shock as I finally figured out was happening and started to watch the pictures and videos come rolling in.

To absolute fear as I tried to get into contact with some of my best friends who I knew where on the streets of Boston celebrating this Patriot’s Day.

To sadness/anger/defeat/resiliency/confusion as I sat glued to my computer into the wee hours of the morning over here in Madrid watching as the events unfolded.

But then it started to change to pride as I started to look at these videos differently. If you look past the fiery explosions and loud booms, you see the dozens of people who run towards the unknown and rip down metal barriers to get to those who have been injured.

Then came the butterflies as I started to see Tweets like this:

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But then back to sadness as the number of casualties continued to rise. Three people dead. One an 8-year-old boy. An 8 year-old-boy whose only crime was going to the best city in the world to cheer on runners crossing the finish line of the Boston Marathon on Patriot’s Day.

And then a day full of confusion and fear as threats continued across the city, including another “mysterious package” on my very own campus at Boston University.

Absolute gratitude at the way the rest of the country reached out their arms and their hearts to the people of Boston, including our biggest enemy, at least in the sports world, the New York Yankees.

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But then things go from bad to worse. It’s announced that one of the three fatalities was a Boston University grad student. As if this wasn’t already so close to home. My heart has broken and the tears keep coming at random moments.

Yesterday was mostly filled with anger. Anger at mass media for continuously publishing false information to try to be the first. Happy that we finally have a clear subject, but anxious as I just want them to catch him already!

And then came last night, when something magical happened. All of Boston came together for the one thing that binds almost all of us together, coincidentally the very thing that these terrorists used to try to tear us apart: sporting events.

That’s really all there is to say. Goosebumps. Chills. Tears. Smiles. Whatever you want to call it. We are Boston Strong.

The night was filled with U-S-A and WE ARE BOSTON chants for the rest of the night. And Paille was able to put one in the back of the net less than 6 minutes into the game for little 8-year-old Bruins fan Martin Richard.

It doesn’t matter the score at the end of the game. It was over 3 hours of staring at the television, smiling and crying over something that had nothing to do with bombs or terrorists. And the stick salute at the end of the game? Class act, Sabres. Class act.

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(*Photo courtesy of the Boston Bruins*)

I have  been a wreck all week. One moment I’ll be so happy and grateful to all the support being shown for my great city, but the next second it vanishes and turns to fear or anguish. Tears of sadness turn to tears of happiness in an instant. And sometimes right back again.

This is truly a week I’ll never forget. Even from 3,000 miles away. I miss Boston more than ever right now and cannot wait to get home.

It doesn’t matter how we choose to come together. Whether it be making blue and yellow Boston Strong ribbons. Or maybe just posting a tribute to the city you love on your blog. Or maybe signing up for the next blood drive. Or even just attending a simple hockey game.

We are Boston.

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