I am just one of the many citizens who lives in the Boston area, a Californian who moved to Cambridge, over two decades ago, married with three small children. While I may have left my heart in San Francisco, this week I found my heart in Boston in the courage and love that showed up in countless ways in the face of terror and violence that occurred on Marathon Monday and the days that followed.
We are all conscious of the violence in the world. We are an informed world. However, when the crisis of terrorism occurs where you live you are called upon to respond and discover what you are made of. I am so proud of the Boston community and the depth and conviction in which people came together instantaneously after the horrifying bombings near the finish line. Whether it be the man in the cowboy hat, or the volunteer doctors who jumped in with the much tougher assignment, or the marathoners who ran on to give blood, or the local newscasters who put themselves in harm's way to keep us informed or the people who sent in their phone images to help, or the nurses and doctors of Boston hospitals who had to deal with a whole new range of war-like injuries, so many everyday heroes emerged.
Mayor Menino was ever present for us in spite of his own health issues. Governor Patrick managed the many levels of the crisis leading us with a calm, steady presence. Most impressive was how all the law enforcement teams, the FBI, police, military forces, and government officials worked cohesively and tirelessly for the safety of us all. The local and national press kept us closely informed with balance respecting the huge task of law enforcement to capture the suspects and protect citizens. In everything, there seemed to be a synergy and conscious unity of working together with everyone involved.
Everyday people showed up and supported one another. Memorial services happened, flowers were laid, vigils were held, prayers said. The president and first lady showed up. Secretary of State Kerry sent messages in to his hometown. Friends from around the country and the world sent messages. Emails of ways to support the family members and friends who were wounded and in the hospital were sent around letting us know how to help and contribute. People were doing what they could.
On Friday, for the first time in the Boston area, those of us in the designated towns had the experience of lockdown while the manhunt for the perpetrator of violence went on. Suspect #2 so desperate to flee that he ran over his own brother, was an indication that he would stop at nothing. Businesses, public transportation and routines were all frozen as law enforcement and citizens worked together to find the suspect.
To have all of this happening in our town with all the world's attention on it somehow made our experience in Boston universal. We all want peace. We all love our families and children. We all cherish a normal day. We want to go to the ballgame or watch the Marathon and cheer on the triumphs of our collective human spirit. The image of Martin Richard, the 8-year-old boy who ran to congratulate his father will forever be etched in our minds. We share the pain that his life was taken. We mourn the loss of Krystle Campbell, a 29 year old restaurant manager, and Lingzi Lu, a 23-year-old Boston University student here from China and Sean Collier, the 26-year-old MIT police officer. We feel the on-going pain of the wounded. We are truly all in this together.
After an endless day Friday, Suspect #2 is in custody. There is a lot of relief and hope in the air again in Boston. Not that the work is done, or the hard times are over or the story has played out but that we have more evidence now that love and courage are alive and strong in Boston. We have proof that people are there for each other. Thank you Boston for rallying with all that you've got and setting an example that we all can be proud of. From the governor to the mayor, to the people of Watertown, to all the armed services, the police, the FBI, the reporters, to the hospitals, to the person who called about the boat, to neighbors who helped neighbors, to friends who helped friends, to families who helped each other, to all those who did something to help someone else, to the aware, to the caring, to the willing and the brave. My heart feels bigger and stronger for it.