This isn’t going to be an “Oh, this is what happened to me” kind of article.
Yes, I was down at the finish line at of the Marathon at my usual post for the Boston Herald next to the Boston Public Library until about 2:30ish. Yes, I walked up Boylston St. and got on a train at Hynes only to be pulled off by screaming police officers at Kenmore. Yes, I was there … and I also was not.
But the things I saw, the things I reported on for the next 24 hours, made me realize one thing: This city is going to be alright, and it’s going to change for the better.
That realization happened when the runners were stopped just under the Mass. Ave bridge on Comm. Ave. These people who have trained for months and months through cold, wind, snow, you name it, were stopped from their goal by about a half mile.
And they were freezing. They were confused. Their bodies ready to go into shock by the sudden stop of forward momentum.
And then people started flooding out of their apartments in the Back Bay. The first woman I saw brought a trash bag and wrapped it around a runner’s legs. It wasn’t the silver B.A.A. cape, the badge of honor that so many runners can’t wait to be cloaked in, but it had to do.
Then more neighbors brought down jugs of water, clothes, food, anything to help these people who’s families were right around the corner…but yet so far away. People cared about one another, and it was genuine, it was true.
The acts of kindness and the sense of community continued on as I walked around the city trying to talk to people for stories. I saw a high school friend, Steve, get reunited with his fiancee in an emotional moment that I would never forget. It made it all too real.
People were literally leaving food and water on stoops hoping that runners would just take something, anything, to help them feel some kind of comfort.
And those acts continued as I walked around the city doing my “job” for the next five or six hours. The days that followed and the stories that came out of it have made a dent in this city.
It’s why people run. It’s why they get up in the morning and pound pavement with a smile, wanting to be a part of this race.
In its darkest moments Boston shone bright, and it also revealed the true character of this this little town. It was that true grit that makes Boston and Bostonians different from any other breed. It was in those early moments that I realized we would be OK, even through the worst moment Boston has every seen.
So here we are are, one year since that day. WE are bigger, WE are better and WE are stronger than ever before.
Can’t wait to get in the field for the 2015 race.