Saturday, April 19, 2014

One Year Later - Boston Stronger - A City of Brilliance and Resilience

It is hard to find the words to express what I felt about being in Boston today. I thought about just posting photos from the BAA 5K, the One Mile Tribute Walk/Run and the Expo but I do need to try to put into words what today meant to me, and all of us whose lives were forever changed on 4/15/13, Bostonians and those who have come from all over the world for Boston Marathon weekend.

As we were walking toward the start, we bumped into John Young ...out of thousands of people, we found each other. We met at the Hoyts 5K several years ago and stay in touch in social media:

We shared a few moments of pure love and joy.

This time one year ago, we were a city in shock. Three died in the bombings and a fourth died a year ago yesterday in the line of duty as an MIT Police Officer. There were 280 people with physical injuries; over 30 people requiring amputation. We lived through the bombings and lock down and wondered how do we come back from these events. President Obama spoke words that made me cry but I wasn't sure if I actually believed him...

On 5/25th, we did the #onerun. From my memoir, "Coming Home: A Memoir of Healing, Hope and Possibility":

After dinner, Tom and I were scrolling through Facebook.

“Oh look they are doing a #onerun tomorrow,” Tom said.

“I am terrified to be a part of that,” I answered.

“Then we have to register,” Tom said.

It waa a cold, rainy day but the love and solidarity of the community and the shared experience of pain brought us a sense of warmth knowing that we were taking steps toward healing.

When it came time for the BAA 10K that my daughter and husband were running in, I was not going to go. I was terrified to be at the start/finish line but when I woke up at 6:30am, I knew that I was not going to allow fear to rule my life.

I noticed how much calmer I felt at today's BAA 5K. There was a collective energy of healing. There were no strangers as everyone struck up conversations with everybody else at the finish line, while waiting for the ladies room and standing side by side watching the Tribute Mile.

There was a sense of physical and emotional wounds healing and a celebration that this weekend has finally arrived.

As we arrived for the Tribute Run/Walk, everything that seemed surreal suddenly felt so real. Participants sporting shirts that said FBI, Boston Police Fugitive Unit, Homeland Security and ATF brought to light for me how everyone quickly came together to track down and capture those who wreaked havoc and terror on our city. Seeing survivors I had seen in the news before me, helped me to realize the resiliency of the human Spirit to move through life altering events. I marveled at the technology and dedication of our medical community as John Odom, Adriane Haslet-Davis, Heather Abbott, Roseann Sdoia walked or ran down Boylston Street to the finish line.

There was security everywhere. Police Commissioner Evans and the Boston Police Department were out in full force. There were bomb sniffing dogs and Tom noticed heavy security out on the course.

We went to the Expo and had lunch at the Forum where many survivors and supporters of survivors gathered.

Kindness, compassion, softness and strength; tears, laughter and a sense of moving forward filled the air. We met up with several people we knew and everyone acknowledged the raw emotions colliding with excitement and relief for Monday's race. The superstition of not wearing the marathon jacket or shirt was discarded as runners wore their shirts, their jackets and their runner passports around their necks.

All the work of those running on Monday is done. Our work as support crew is done. Tomorrow we take the field at Fenway Park representing the BAA volunteers in a Marathon pre game ceremony.

For today, the sun was shining and the sky was a beautiful blue blessing our beautiful city of brilliance and resilience.

Here are those photos from the day:

And a few more:
Our T selfie on the way into Boston:

Tom's view of the race:

We OWN this finish line!

Here is a link to WBZ's coverage of today's Tribute Mile.

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