I love the city of Boston. I always have. Until this past week, I never really thought about why that is. Boston, like all major cities, has its problems. But Boston has been and continues to be a great city in our great nation. The sports teams, colleges, architecture, restaurants and history make the city unique. But there is something about the people of Boston. That “something” is hard to put a finger on.
Being the birthplace of the abolitionist movement is no small accomplishment for the brave folks who did it. The American Revolution was also conceived in Boston. Four of the forty-four Presidents of the United States were born in the city or its suburbs - no other city in America can lay claim to a higher percentage. Boston’s traditional values of higher education are surpassed by no other city in the world; and no other city better underscores the idea that “Education is the Foundation of Democracy”.
Last week, the City of Boston faced a tremendous challenge. The Marathon bombings shattered the euphoria of the celebration of freedom on Patriots Day. Yet, even before the smoke cleared, the people of Boston stoically upheld my unyielding faith in humanity. A fine example of this notion came to my attention in photographs of the aftermath of the bombing. A man who can be seen in the photographs of the carnage, although injured, did not try to escape, did not focus on his own injuries and did not complain. Instead, he crawled to the nearest person injured much worse than he was. He began removing his own upper body clothing to apply pressure to the terrible wounds of that person, whom he most likely did not even know. He did this spontaneously, while clearly in shock. He did this without reward and without the expectation of recognition for his bravery and despite the obvious risk to himself. The general public does not know this man’s name, his home or his situation. All we know is that he did all he could to help another person in grave need, under extreme duress.
He also was not alone. Great numbers of people, though entirely unprepared for such a disaster, did not hesitate for a moment, but rushed into an unimaginable scene of horror to help any way they could. Though I was greatly troubled by the realities of this event, I found a deep pride in the response of the city’s first responders, police and most remarkably… the bystanders – regular people like you and I. This is the type of action that has made Boston a great city and a great city it remains.
Boston is the heart of New England. Therefore, Boston is New England. We are Boston. May God bless the people of the great City of Boston and all others impacted by this terrible tragedy.