Last week, a catastrophic event occurred. The Boston Marathon will forever have an asterisk next to it, symbolizing 2013 as the year that evil tried to destroy it. Several lives were lost, hundreds were affected, and two pieces of human garbage were captured or killed.
Am I writing this to bum you out on a Monday morning? That is not my intention. I share this story so that I can spotlight the heroes and angels among us who rose quickly from the ashes to help the living.
My heroes were the people who, when bombs were exploding and chaos erupted on Boylston Street, ran INTO the smoke to kick over barricades and help the injured. They tore their own shirts to improvise tourniquets and bandages. They carried the fallen to safety. Runners who had just completed a grueling 26.2 miles ran 2 more so they could donate blood at the hospital. People who had volunteered at the medical tent expecting to deal with things like dehydration and blistered feet were catapulted into a makeshift triage center in a war zone.
Evil showed up, and that is a terrible thing.
Angels and heroes showed up too…binding wounds, holding hands and calming souls.
One of those angels was wearing a cowboy hat.
On the course, runners not yet aware of what had happened received news that the marathon was over. Mystified and confused, many without cell phones, money or identification, they were swept up by strangers’ gifts of kindness: warm clothing, food, drink, use of phones, money or a ride.
Homes and hearts were opened to strangers.
It sucks that it takes such an intentional disaster for this to happen.
I hope that people will always remember what happened in New England last week.
The words ‘Boston’ and ‘Strong’ were combined to become a rallying cry for perseverance. It showed the heart of a city which launched a revolution. It showed how much we have each others’ backs when you come to our town and piss us off.
Our sports teams played on, when it was appropriate, and inspired us with their tributes and their talents, giving us a reason to smile, if only long enough to let the authorities do their jobs.
Fans in our city, and at events throughout the country, sang our anthem loudly and proudly.
Hell, they even played “Sweet Caroline” at Yankee Stadium.
That’s love, people.
All we have to do now is maintain the love of our country, and each other.
It’s not as hard as it may seem.
There are many voices screaming angrily right now, as there will always be.
Conspiracy theories abound. Leadership’s integrity will be questioned.
All I see is a wall of smoke with real heroes running in and out, ferrying fallen brothers and sisters.
And right now, that’s enough for me.
They all inspire me to be a better person, and maybe even to be a hero myself once in a while.
How can you become one, to someone in need, this week?
It’s a lot easier than you may think…and you don’t have to run 26 miles to do it.
It’s in your back yard. It’s next door. It’s in your own home.
Someone needs a hero.
Cowboy hat is optional.
Please be kind.
* photo from CapeCodToday.com