Hundreds of years ago the Ancient Greeks, founders of Democracy, fought the Persians for the freedom they strongly believed in. The Greeks earned their freedom and defeated the Persians at the Battle of Marathon. Immediately following the battle, the Athenian soldier Pheidippides ran from the battlefield at Marathon, 26.2 miles to the city of Athens. When Pheidippides finally reached Athens, he stood amongst his people and managed to proclaim the final word “Victory!” before collapsing to his death. This turning point in history, marking the beginnings of Democratic society is honored today with the tradition of the Marathon.
I wanted to share that bit of background, in case you had never heard that story before, but also because I think it’s a great story to have in mind when thinking about the events of this years Boston marathon.
I won’t rehash what happened, what I can say from that day was that I was safe and my nearest and dearest were safe and unharmed. What’s important is to focus on the good that was seen on Monday. There are many who are focusing on the culprit, the motives, the Why, their anger. And that is completely understandable.
I choose, however, to focus on the survivors, the courage, the What now and the future. There are many amazing stories of ordinary citizens, running towards the explosion to help the injured, the injured enduring the aftermath and remaining strong. The families of those that were lost have been speaking out with grace and appreciation for the strength and support from this nation. I think those messages spread hope and encouragement. That the good in people cannot be taken and doesn’t have to be lost.
It’s easy to feel overwhelmed by all of the bad people in this world, but Patton Oswalt said it best when pointing out that there are so many more good people.
The courage of the survivors, the families, the civilians on the street right after, the businesses who sheltered people, the police, firemen and medical professionals who risk their lives to save others, was inspiring.
Now we move forward, we rise above, we figure out how to heal and we don’t let fear or hatred infect us. Whoever is behind this probably doesn’t have a satisfying answer as to Why, I don’t think any answer to Why would make anyone feel better or make any sense. But, it’s probably safe to say they wanted to make us afraid, this was an act of terror.
We win by not allowing that to take over. As a city we have a long and storied history of overcoming extreme adversity and conflict. The response to these events has not been any different. We are strong. #WeAreBoston. Boston is a city with a small town soul. We’re a family and we’re tough. So is this country.
The story at the beginning of this blog is representative of where we are today. We are a united group, of Bostonians, of Americans, of people, who are strong and can win any battle. This week has already been a journey and will continue to be one, but we will claim, “victory!” Either in our choices, in our focus on the positive, in continued change to be better and as we stand together.
Continue to #MakeMoves, #StayStrong, #BeKlassy, #WeAreBoston.