One Boston Day: Forever Boston Strong

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“No More Hurting People. Peace" - Martin Richard

On April 15, 2013, the city of Boston was selfishly attacked by a devastating terrorist attack.  Patriot’s Day is a public holiday in Massachusetts and the Marathon is traditionally held to commemorate the Revolutionary War Battles of Lexington and Concord.  The landscape changed again for us, this time it was our backyard that was affected.  When two bombs exploded near the Boston Marathon finish line, hundreds were injured and three people were killed. 


Photo courtesy of ESPN.com

Sadness fell over Boston and we needed a hero, we needed something to help us move forward from this terrible day.  The Boston Red Sox were the heroes we needed and the drama they provided will stay with us forever as Red Sox fans. 

Our hometown nine would wear jersey’s that would say “Boston” versus “Red Sox”.  The team felt that Boston was bigger than the Red Sox.  Once the team returned home we’ll never forget the iconic speech from David Ortiz.  It was a speech that every Red Sox fan, the people of Boston and the country needed.  Ortiz iconically uttered the following line, “This is our f--ing city, and nobody gonna dictate our freedom.  tay strong!”. 

Then there was the Bruins game at the TD Garden on April 17, 2013.  The entire city of Boston would show their unity and that we were forever Boston Strong.  As the arena was filled with American flags and cheers for the city’s first responders, what we got next made the hair on the back of our collective necks stand up. 

Bruins announcer Rene Rancourt sang the “Star-Spangled Banner” as he did before every Bruins home game.  But that night it was different, that night Rancourt sang the first two lines and then the TD Garden took over.  

   

Every time I watch that YouTube video of the TD Garden that night it sends a chill down my spine.  You have to fight back the tears in your eyes because the emotion was bigger than sports, but sports brought people together to help get them through this horrific time in the city.

Seven years later, we have our new adversity, our new dark hour that is impacting the world.  Sports can unify so many when there are so many wavering opinions about fandom, players and teams.  The coronavirus epidemic is impacting this world, people are losing jobs, businesses are on hold, people are getting sick and thousands are dying.  While I understand the health and safety of the people is priority number one, the one common bond we have is our love and affinity for sports.  It acts like a binding agent to bring people together when they need people the most. 

Martin Richard was one of the lives lost on that tragic day.  At the finish line at the Marathon where he was at, he was holding a sign, the words on the sign were simple, “No More Hurting People” and “Peace”.  Richard would have no idea that he was holding such a powerful message that the world would get to see.  Every year when this date rolls around I can’t help think about him.  I never knew him or his family, but I think about the fact he was eight years old and the entire world was in front of him.  I think about what was taken from a little boy and his family. 

Pintrest
Today, as we honor the victims who died at the finish line on Bolyston Street, MIT Officer Sean Collier and the hundreds of others who were injured and lives changed forever, please take a moment and say thank you to our newest heroes in the front line.  The first responders, health-care workers and all the essential employees allowing us to have some sense of normalcy in a world that feels so upside down right now. 

Just like that day seven years ago, the intention was for some selfish people to take the sense of security, hope and instill fear into our lives.  We stood up and fought back through that adversity, we did that with each other and with sports.  As we now face our latest challenge, this time in the form of a virus, it is time we talk back our sense of security and hope.  We need to put away our fears and try and get back to a sense of normalcy the best we can.  Let’s do that with sports.  Whether it’s in an empty arena in Las Vegas, to empty ball fields in Arizona, or an empty rink in New Hampshire.  Let’s come together with sports. 

The Red Sox went on to win the 2013 World Series in a season that started with a nightmare.  They placed the World Series trophy at the finish line of the Marathon with the iconic 617 jersey draped over it.  The Bruins went to the Stanley Cup Final, unfortunately they lost to the Chicago Blackhawks at home in six games.  Boston had hope and sports to get them through their darkest hour. 

In closing, we need sports, but only if it can be done safely.  But most importantly we need to thank the first responders, the health-care workers and essential people working to allow us our current way of life.  

We also need to remember the lives lost on that ugly day.  

Krystle Campbell.
Lü Lingzi. 
Officer Sean Collier. 
Martin Richard. 

I will never forget.  We are forever Boston Strong. 


Follow Chris on Twitter @ChrisHenrique

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Boston Sports Syndicate: One Boston Day: Forever Boston Strong
One Boston Day: Forever Boston Strong
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