Marathon Day came on Monday April 15. It was a beautiful Spring day. One thing you should know about the Marathon. For Bostonians and all those that live in the Commonwealth Of Massachusetts and everyone in the general New England area, Marathon Day is special, very special. It was “Patriots Day”.
It is the day the heralds the arrival of Spring and brings us out of our homes and back into the world from a winter that is often harsh. It is a day where the only morning baseball game in all of Major League Baseball is played. It is a day when eating sausage, peppers and onions on a roll on Yawkey Way at 9am is oaky because after all, sausage is a breakfast food. People pull out their shorts and bare their pasty white legs to the world in hopes of getting a little color as they sit in the roof top seats at Fenway or find a nice spot along the Marathon route in the miles of greenway that cover Heartbreak Hill. It is the day that people flock to the corner of Washington St and Comm Ave in Newton to hang with the men and women of the Newton Fire Department and buy hot dogs and chips to support Muscular Dystrophy. It is the day that long before dawn, Minutemen muster in places like Lincoln, Maynard, Stow, Lexington and Concord and re-create the battles that gave us our true independence. It is the day that will always be known for the “shot heard ’round the world”.
How were we to know on that beautiful Spring morning that a day that was always so festive and fun would become the worst case of domestic terrorism our nation had ever seen. In my little corner of the world, I was still recovering from surgery. I was doing well but still moving a little slow. As was customary, my sister had come to visit for the weekend. We were not able to do all the fun little adventures we liked to do because I was still on the disabled list. But we made the best of it and did what we could. Unfortunately, she had to return to Maine a day early to attend to her husband and his progressing prostate cancer. So I sat on the couch and watched the Sox game and then the Marathon and took it easy. My coworkers were working hard all along the route in Newton, keeping the crowds at bay as the masses of runners came through and faced Heartbreak Hill. I was listening to my portable police radio. Well, I wasn’t really listening, it was just on in the background.
And then everything changed. Explosions were set off at the Marathon finish line. There was panic and chaos. And there was carnage, lots of carnage. Unfathomable carnage. I now payed much closer attention to my radio as I watched the “Breaking News” and “Developing Story” reports on TV. In an unprecedented move, the Marathon runners were stopped along the route and not allowed to continue into Boston. I listened as our command staff barked orders out to Officers and Dispatchers making sure to keep everyone along the route safe. I wanted to go to work and help…but I couldn’t. It was hard.
We all know what happened that day. “Boston Strong” was born that day and would become the slogan of our Nation and of the World. We were Boston, we were strong, we were Boston Strong. How could we ever know what was to come in the ensuing days and how strong we would have to be?