From Tragedy to Triumph: This is Our F’N City

#OneDayInBoston is the hashtag being used for today, but it’s also the perfect way to begin the story of the tragedy that rocked our city three years ago today. One day in Boston…

April 15, 2013—Patriot’s Day, the Red Sox playing at home and, of course, the 117th This is our fucking cityBoston Marathon. “Marathon Monday”, as we call it in Boston,began as a day like any other—battling Boston traffic, perfect spring weather for New England, Red Sox fans and marathon watchers cluttering the streets. After observing a moment of silence honoring the victims of the Sandy Hook shooting, the marathon began as scheduled; wheelchair participants left the starting line at 9:17, elite women at 9:32 and elite men at 10:00 AM. By 10:40 AM, all competitors in the world’s oldest annual marathon were on the way towards the finish line on Boylston St. 26.2 miles away.

2 hours and 10 minutes into the race, the first, second and third place winners triumphantly crossed the finish line. Their clock times were 2:10:22, 2:10:27 and 2:10:28. Nearly two hours later at approximately 2:49 PM, with runners crossing the finish line and approximately 5,600 more yet to cross, two pressure-cooker bombs–packed with shrapnel and other materials and hidden in backpacks that were placed on the ground amidst crowds of marathon-watchers–exploded within seconds of each other near the finish line along Boylston Street. The blasts instantly turned the sun-filled afternoon into a gruesome scene of destruction and chaos. Three spectators died: a 23-year-old woman, a 29-year-old woman and an 8-year-old boy, while more than 260 other people were wounded. Sixteen people lost legs; the youngest amputee was a 7-year-old girl.

First responders reacted immediately, and a medical tent that had been erected to treat runners was turned into an emergency medical facility. Three bombing victims died of their injuries, and more than 100 of the seriously injured were transferred to area hospitals.

Our city was under attack.

Calls to and from that area of Boston were impossible. The FBI, Boston Police and State Police closed  everything within a 15-block radius. Our city had been attacked and we had no idea by who, what or if there was more to come.

Law enforcement officials worked feverishly to find out who was behind this attack and where they were. Bostonians were licking their wounds…but not for long.

Within 48 hours we knew that the attack was a terrorist attack using homemade bombs. Within 72 hours, the FBI released photos of two male suspects— 19-year-old Dzhokhar Tsarnaev and older brother 26-year-old Tamerlan Tsarnaev. We knew who and we knew what and it was only a matter of time before law enforcement officials knew where these men were.

As a massive manhunt ensues, the brothers continue to run, winding up at Massachusetts Institute of Technology where police officer Sean Collier is shot and killed on campus by the bombers, raising the death toll to 4.

This is Our F’N City!

April 20, 2013— 5 days after tragedy struck our beloved city and not even 24 hours after the capture of the terrorists behind the attack, baseball returned to Fenway Park. In the first home game since the marathon bombing, the Red Sox pregame honored the victims, law enforcement and everyone who helped our city to recover and begin healing.

On this Saturday afternoon, before tens of thousands of Fenway Faithful and a national television audience, David Ortiz had something he wanted to say to the city he has come to love.

After an emotional week that included bombings at the marathon, real life Call of Duty scenes in our city’s streets, residents locked in their homes under Gov. Patrick’s orders for safety and security while police hunted these terrorists, and the deaths of four people—we were in no mood to be politically correct or to censor ourselves. And this was evident in Big Papi’s words to our beloved city:

“All right, Boston,this jersey that we wear today, it doesn’t say ‘Red Sox.’ It say ‘Boston.’ We want to thank you, Mayor Menino, Governor Patrick, the whole police department for the great job that they did this past week. This is our F’N city, and nobody’s going to dictate our freedom. Stay strong. Thank you.”

David Ortiz’s words—This is our F’n city—rallied the city together, and the team. 2013 was the year our city went from tragedy to triumph as we watched our team rally together under Big Papi’s inspirational words and actions. With every Red Sox win that year, not only did our beloved team become stronger, but so did our city. As the Sox went from ‘worst to first’, it strengthened our city. We saw people ban together to support one another, to help their fellow neighbor and most of all, to not live in fear, but to fight back because, “This is our F’n City!”

We all know that the Sox went on to win the World Series that year, a triumphant end to a tragic year for Boston’s residents. Baseball, like it has at so many times throughout American history, served as a distraction from the reality of what was going on around us, but it also unified a city, a community, a nation.

None of us, especially here in Boston, will ever forget April 15, 2013. We will never forget those who tragically lost their lives, and we can never be thankful enough for the people who worked to help and save so many more. The world is an uncertain place, that’s no secret. But as we remember the events of that one day in Boston, we should also remember that we are Boston Strong.

This is our F’n city!

Leave a Reply