I saw the first American in 31 years to win the Boston Marathon, cross the finish line, drop to his knees, and drape himself in an American Flag. I was there to hear the National Anthem blaring on loud speakers at the very spot where the first bomb detonated one year ago. I was there as survivors and their family members and their friends crossed the finish line with expressions of determination and joy. I was there as three best friends, all amputees, embraced each other at the end of the race. I was there to see several people run by wearing “MR8” shirts in honor of Martin Richard, the 8-year old boy killed in the bombings last year. I was there to see Dick Hoyt pushing his son, Rick, in a wheelchair, finish their 32nd and final Boston Marathon. And I was there to see 36,000 others fight their way to the end through shear grit and determination. Whether running as a personal challenge or to raise money for a cause or simply to finish what they started one year ago, these marathoners were on a mission. Well, mission accomplished.
This was the eleventh time that I stood outside the medical tent, not as a first responder, but as a medical reporter for WBZ News. It was a beautiful day, much like race day one year ago. Sunny in the 60s with a light breeze. But there was something different about this day. Something else in the air. Something intangible. Like a collective promise to make this Marathon special. Bigger and better than ever. And “we” succeeded. More runners than ever. More spectators than ever. Safer than ever. A true accomplishment on all levels. I think we all can breathe a sigh of relief that this Marathon went off without a hitch and will be one to remember for the ages.
I know to some it may seem cliché. Boston Strong. But to people in this city, it’s a way of life. And this year’s Marathon proved that this city will not be weakened. It will not live in fear. We are Boston Strong. We are Boston Proud.
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