April 22, 2013 Leave a comment
Almost exactly one week ago I did the same thing that I had done every 3rd Monday of April for 5 of the past 6 years. I woke up bright and early, got ready, left the house before 9:00 AM and hopped on a train at Packard’s Corner in Allston to head down to the Hynes Convention Center station. From there I walked up to LIR on 903 Boylston Street and took a seat at the bar to watch the marathon and the Red Sox game just as I have in each of those years before.
I wasn’t close to the blasts when they went off. I was likely walking towards Commonwealth Avenue on Hereford Street when it happened. I did not hear or feel the blasts (my level of intoxication at the time likely contributed to that) but as soon as I turned onto Comm. Ave. police cars and motorcycles were already racing to the scene. I walked down to Kenmore and before crossing the street to go into Bertucci’s, and after a barrage of text messages made me wise to what had happened, I had to stop for the ambulances that were already starting transporting victims of the attack, not 10 minutes since the attack had taken place.
Unfortunately the perpetrators of the attack took the lives of 3 people and the livelihood of many more who will be forced to live the rest of their lives with debilitating injuries caused by the attack. But what they did last Monday was not just an attack on our people or even on our freedom. It was an attack on our tradition. Every 3rd Monday in April. That day has become more than just a marathon to the people of Boston. Since 1968 the Red Sox have played a home game at Fenway Park at 11 AM every year to coincide with when the bulk of the marathon is being run outside Fenway Park. It’s not just a drinking day, it’s a celebration. It’s a day to spend with your friends and your family. Many times you will see people that you haven’t seen for the entire year, by design or otherwise, down on Boylston Street drinking a beer or cheering on a friend from the sidewalk. It’s a day to be a Bostonian. The Patriot’s Day experience – the marathon, the Sox game, the celebration, the tradition – is as Bostonian as apple pie is American.
The events of the past week will stay with me forever. I will never forget sitting in Bertucci’s watching the reports of the attack on that day, barely more than a mile from where it had taken place. I will never forget being glued to the news watching as the investigation slowly unfolded for 3 days. I will never forget hearing the sirens early Friday morning as policemen rushed to the aid the officers under attack in Watertown. I will never forget the “internet manhunt” over two sleepless days led by El Presidente. I will never forget being locked down in my home for the better part of a day and then leaving to go to the store after the lock down ended and finding half of the people of Allston out on the street. I will never forget trying to have a peaceful beer on my porch after the lock down had ended until being interrupted by another cavalcade of sirens in the distance heading toward the final moments of the saga. I will never forget the police guarded ambulance passing behind my house. I will never forget the President’s speech, the Governor’s speech or Big Papi’s speech. All of these events of the past week will both haunt and inspire me for the rest of my days.
There will be one moment when I will forget all of this though. It will be in about a year, the 3rd Monday in April of 2014. That day I will wake up bright and early, get ready, leave the house before 9 AM and get to that bar stool at LIR in time for the start of the marathon and the Red Sox game. Thousands will join me in continuing their Patriots Day traditions. Some will run, some will watch, some will sit in a bar stool and enjoy the celebration. That’s the great thing about tradition – you can attack it but you can never really truly take it away. And on the 3rd Monday of April next year the City of Boston will show the world that our traditions can not be broken.