Yesterday's events in Boston were horrifying for all of us, but it has hit me much harder than I would have thought. It hit close to home in a round about literal way.
I grew up in Massachusetts since I was 8 years old. My mom was born in Boston and I had a lot of relatives who lived near Boston. I worked in Boston and neighboring Cambridge for about five years. Both my kids were born Boston. I've been a boston sports fan since I was a kid, especially the Bruins and the Red Sox. And, of course, there was the yearly running of the Boston Marathon.
Patriots Day, a state holiday in Massachusetts, we'd usually have off from school. The Marathon was a big, big deal. Even if we didn't know anyone running, we'd listen to it on the radio or watch it on T.V. It was a huge cultural event, bigger than anything except for when the Red Sox got into the Penant race, or even better, the World Series.
I have been here in the mid-west for almost 9 years now. It's ok. The people are generally nicer here, on average. I haven't missed New England much until the past year, mainly because of the election and the psychic pain of being a liberal living in one of the redest of red states.
Yesterday, though, hit me hard. This was my Boston, it was our race, our yearly celebration of hosting THE top marathon in the world. I brought back the terrible memories of 9/11, where two of the hijacked planes originated from Boston and many pilots, crew, and passengers on those planes were locals. There wasn't a town in my area that didn't lose at least one person that day. Everyone either knew someone, or knew someone who knew someone who died in the attacks. The father of my brother-in-laws former fiance, who'd attended my wedding, died in the plane that hit the Pentagon. The pilot of one of the planes were from Nashua, NH, two towns away.
All of that pain and fear and anger came rushing back when I read about the bombings yesterday. The distance and the years melted away and suddenly, I was once again a Bay Stater, mourning for my fellow citizens.
Yet, there was immense pride in reading about how the responders, both professional and ordinary citizens quickly reacted to save countless lives. In the face of chaos and fear, the people of Boston and the surrounding towns showed their true Yankee characters and faced fear squarely in the eyes and through their actions and character, gave a big "Fuck You!" to the terrorists who attacked them.
Us Yankees (no, not the N.Y. kind, but I'll get to them in a minute) are tough, no-nonsense folk. We see something happen and we deal with it. There is no panic, only to hunker down and do what has to be done to persevere. We didn't back down with the greatest military force on the planet threatened us, and we certainly won't let some cowardly terrorists push us around.
Finally, here is a [link]
to an incredibly touching drawing courtesy of the New Yorker. For those of you not familiar with the NY Yankee / Boston Red Sox rivalry, it essentially has most of the qualities of the Hatfield/McCoy feud. That makes this picture so much more poignant and beautiful. It brought tears to my eyes. Thank you NY.
For the first time in 9 years, I wish I was back in Massachusetts.