In tribute to all of the victims and survivors of the Boston Marathon Bombings this month, its made me think just how lucky I am to live in a city that is so strong, cultured, and determined to set the bar high.
I love reading about Boston history, which we all know there is a lot of! But reading first person narratives about Bostonians’ lives over the last half of the 20th century is also a gem that needs to become more common. I’ve recently finished reading “Our Boston: Writer’s Celebrate the City They Love.” It’s a collection of essays written by Boston writers about their connections to Boston and their personal accounts of why they think it’s a great city. Writers in the book include Mike Barnacle, Susan Orlean, John Updike any Madeline Blais (one of my Journalism professors at UMass!).
April 15, 2013 made me realize just how important the Boston Marathon is to the City of Boston. Growing up, it was always an event held on Patriot’s Day that I took for granted. But it’s the crux of the city’s pride and the embodiment of what it means to be Boston Strong.
The day of the Marathon Bombings also made me understand how Boston is a great city that is unlike any other. It sounds cliche, but where else can you have someone say the words “wicked” and “smart” to you in the same sentence or see a giant duck driving through the streets while seeing the word “chowdah” appear on several store fronts?
“Our Boston” uses first person narratives to illustrate examples of how this city is strong and a community-driven place to live. You’ll read about the pack of girls who used to worship Bobby Orr at the Garden and an account of what it was like to cover the bombings and chaos from Boston Globe columnist Kevin Cullen. The authors in the book donated their time and service to write their portions, and $5 from every book sold goes to the One Fund.
On my trip to Virginia last weekend (more to come on that soon!) I was given further proof of how respected Boston is around the country. I was the only writer from Boston on my media tour, and at every place we stopped the owner or guide would ask where everyone was from. I would always respond, “The Great City of Boston.” I got hugs and prayers more often than not. I’m not kidding. People still feel for Boston, they are still curious about how the city is recovering. I was asked about this many times.
Several people told me how they have family in Boston and recounted their family’s stories about the bombings. And the conversation always ended with, “I want to visit Boston so bad.”
The city is stronger than ever.