We hadn’t been to Boston in a few years so my family and I decided out of the blue to go up there last Sunday. The thing I really wanted to see was Fenway Park, which I had never been to before. I wanted to see the green monster in person. I wanted to see the wall that Bucky Dent’s homerun went over, and I wanted to see it all live.
Our seats turned out being right behind a steel pole, an obstructional piece of stadium art lost to those who sit in any of the newer ball parks in the rest of the country and don’t get to see them. The manual scoreboard on the green monster is a wonder onto itself. Its human card changer works tirelessly to keep up with all the scoring changes in and out of town. The kids got cotton candy, my daughter got red, my son got blue; we sang take me out to the ball game and “God Bless America” in the seventh inning, “Sweet Caroline” in the eighth, and we cheered a Sox win in the ninth.
On Monday the 15th we walked around the Commons, ate lunch at Remington’s on Boylston Street, and were standing outside Park Plaza, about three blocks from the finish line, when my wife and daughter heard a strange sound they thought might be thunder. When we saw people fleeing the marathon area, some crying and distraught, we thought it strange. When we saw a stream of emergency vehicles heading that way, we knew something was wrong.
In the post 911 era, when you see emergency vehicles going by and confused crowds in a big city, you think terrorism. We walked about twenty blocks to the nearest open subway station, and headed out of the city. On the train were a group of marathon runners. They knew something had happened, too, and while the mood of the day may have changed, the mood of these runners had not. They told us how they trained for the race, what they ate to prepare, and where they were going to run their next marathon. They were taking it all in stride. In the post 911 world we don’t flinch so easily.
We know when someone is trying to scare us. They think that by causing chaos at the events and places that we hold most dear that we will wither, when in fact the truth is just the opposite. They only serve to make us stronger. It brought the allegiance of the Yankees who played “Sweet Caroline” in the third inning on Wednesday’s game in New York in support of Boston. There are some causes that go above and beyond mere sports rivalries.
It was a triumph that the FBI and local police were able to determine who the suspects were and apprehend them so quickly. One thing the FBI used to its advantage was the strength and solidarity of its own people. They counted on us to help them out when they put out the images and videos of the suspects for all to see, and it worked. The message is clear, in this country if you attack us we will all work together and hunt you down. The events of this week will be remembered for a long time, and Americans should know that they have what it takes to deal with those who try to hurt us.
I am glad I finally got to see Fenway, but my memories of my time at the ball park this week will always include those of being there during one of the most difficult yet triumphant weeks in Boston. I went to the city to take in its old history; I didn’t expect to be part of its new history. The events that played out in front of the nation will be remembered for a long time as a testament to how we stand up to terrorism. Let’s never forget those who were hurt and killed on April 15th, let’s do what we can to help them, and let’s never forget the rights for which we will always keep fighting for.