Boston, you’re my home

If you want a rehash of the tragic events of last week in Boston, from the Marathon bombing to the capture of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, go elsewhere. I can’t do it. Every conversation I’ve had for days has gone “Why? I don’t get it. It just doesn’t make sense” before we start rehashing it again, trying to make sense of something that will likely never make sense to me.

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As I try to unpack the roller coaster of emotion that this past week has brought, I decided that what I want to do today is share the moments that buoyed me, made me laugh through the tears, and made me wicked proud to be a Bostonian.

The Touching

When people learned that there were many stranded runners and hotel guests who couldn’t get back into their hotels, someone started a googledocs spreadsheet to create a database of people willing to open their homes. Within 20 minutes, there were over 1,000 entries. Within 24, over 5,000. More here.

Screen Shot 2013-04-22 at 10.23.27 PMsource-@callyd86 via the article linked below

The London Marathon paid tribute to Boston in a number of ways, including passing out black ribbons to every runner,and a moment of silence.  Further, the London Marathon donated 2£ for every runner who finished to The One Fund Boston, amounting to US 100k. For more, read this article.

Screen Shot 2013-04-22 at 10.46.35 PMMIT’s Green Building, the tallest building in Cambridge, MA (21 stories, 300 feet tall) used its windows to pay tribute. On Monday, they lit the windows to resemble the US Flag. On April 20th, they lit it in a black window to pay tribute to the fallen MIT police officer, Sean Collier. source.

Screen Shot 2013-04-22 at 10.56.10 PMDunkin’ Donuts (invented in Quincy, MA-just south of Boston)  gave free coffee and donuts to law enforcement and first responders during the lockdown. By the time the lockdown happened, most of the morning employees were already at work, or at the 24 hour locations.  more here

Screen Shot 2013-04-22 at 11.06.42 PMA Brookline Police Officer brought milk to a family with young children in Watertown during the lockdown.

The Funny

Comedian and Faux-Journalist Stephen Colbert’s funny and moving tribute to Boston during the open of his April 16th show-transcript in case the video is geo-blocked.

Look, before we begin, I just want to take a moment to talk about the attack in Boston yesterday. Obviously our thoughts and our prayers are with everybody there. And as the President said, we don’t know who did this, but they will be found and they will be brought to justice.

But whoever did this, obviously did not know shit about the people of Boston—because nothing these terrorists do is going to shake them. For Pete’s sake, Boston was founded by the Pilgrims, a people so tough they had to buckle their goddamn hats on. It is the cradle of the American Revolution—a city that withstood an 86-year losing streak; a city that made it through the Big Dig, a construction project that backed up traffic for 16 years! There are commuters just getting home now. Even their bands are tough. It’s the hometown of Aerosmith who, in their fifth decade, are still going strong. Even Steven Tyler looks fantastic— for a 73-year-old woman.

But here’s what these cowards really don’t get: They attacked the Boston Marathon, an event celebrating people who run 26 miles – on their day off until their nipples are raw – for fun. And they have been holding it in Boston since 1897. And do you know how tough you have to be to run in a wale-bone corset? And when those bombs went off there were runners, who, after finishing a marathon, kept running for another two miles to the hospital to donate blood.

So, here’s what I know: These maniacs may have tried to make life bad for the people of Boston, but all they could ever do, is show just how good those people are.

Now. This is The Colbert Report.

Screen Shot 2013-04-22 at 11.20.22 PMReason #13-Someone lovingly puts winter scarves on the bronze duck statues from Make Way for Ducklings

The Buzzfeed “29 Reasons to Love Boston” is truly a beautiful and hilarious love letter to Boston.

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What happens when you have a one-night stand, only to wake up in a locked down city?  If you’re Dan McCarthy, you write about it.

And it was then when I realized I had a problem. The whole city was locked down. Taxis were suspended. Public transit shuttered. Cops were going house to house. Armored vehicles were roaming the streets. No one could go out. You weren’t even supposed to open the door unless it was for a cop.

With a deadline to hit and a cell phone running on 8% battery, it quickly became clear that my plan to quietly slip out and return home to fulfill my work obligations would be a near impossible feat. I was trapped. And what was meant to be a discreet exit was now an agonizingly gratuitous small-scale walk of shame across the apartment from the bedroom to the bathroom. I paused in the living room to offer up an uncomfortable morning salutation to the roommate, who sat on the couch wearing a robe and a distinct “who the hell is this guy?” look on her face. Yup.

Screen Shot 2013-04-22 at 11.24.55 PMThis became a thing. I may need to buy this as a keychain at the very least.

Sweet Caroline

There have been a number of “Sweet Caroline” tributes or references you may have seen on my twitter/fb/etc page and wondered “what the hell is with Boston and this freaking song?” It’s a big enough deal that it gets its own category, that’s what.

To say that Boston is a sports town is an understatement. The B of the Boston Red Sox logo has become a symbol of the city itself.  Fans of the baseball team are referred to as “Red Sox Nation.” If Red Sox Nation had a national anthem, it would be “Sweet Caroline.”  For over 10 years, the song has been played during the 7th inning stretch at every single last home game since 2002 (and I attended games before that when we sang it). source  It is a song that Boston has embraced as our own.

Many fellow sports teams, baseball and other played Sweet Caroline to honor/respond to the Boston Tragedy. But when the New York Yankees did so, I burst into tears.

Boston and New York have a bit of a rivalry going, most frequently expressed via baseball.  We do major trash talking of one another (for example, just as I can buy a baby a “Red Sox Nation” bib, I can also get a “Yankees Drool” bib-one of the milder examples I could share). Amongst one group of my friends there was/is a discussion thread devoted to Sox/Yankees trash talking-clocking in a 100+ pages last I checked. So when the Yankees–our bitter rival, played it in tribute (complete with our “bum, bum, bum” and “so good so goo so good” additions, a Fenway tradition)–well, I still can’t get through the following video without crying. The Boston/NYC relationship is best expressed as a contentious sibling relationship–we trash talk, mock and otherwise insult one another constantly. But we stand together when tragedy strikes.

On Saturday, April 20th, after Dzhokhar Tsarnaev’s arrest on Friday, Neil Diamond boarded a 4:30 am flight to Boston.  He showed up 40 minutes before game time at Fenway and offered to sing live in tribute. Below you’ll see what a Boston crowd at Fenway can do with our anthem.  Not Neil’s best performance, but you can hear him getting understandably choked up at various points. Afterward, the crowd starts chanting “thank you, thank you, thank you”

That same game marked the return of one of our most beloved players, David Ortiz after an injury that took him out of commission last August.  Ortiz is lovingly known in Boston as “Big Papi,” and he’s a colorful local personality.

Designated hitter David Ortiz said, ‘this is our f*cking city’ after a memorial video showing the past few days, played on the big screen.Ortiz said, “This jersey that we wear today, it doesn’t say Red Sox. It says Boston…’We want to thank you, Mayor Menino, Governor Patrick, the whole police department for the great job they did this past week. This is our f*cking city, and nobody is going to dictate our freedom. Stay strong.”

The Red Sox wore crisp white uniforms that simply read ‘Boston,’ with a ‘B Strong’ logo. The team said their uniforms would be autographed and auctioned to raise money for the One Fund Boston charity established to help the victims.

Law enforcement and first responders later walked onto the field and formed a line in front of the Red Sox dugout.

Moments of silence were then held for Marathon victims, eight-year-old Martin Richard, Krystle Campbell and Lu Lingzi and MIT police officer Sean Collier, who was killed Thursday night in a shootout between the Tsarnaev brothers. source

And finally….

Of every image that went viral, I think the following was the one I saw the most.

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Boston is not unique in tragedy. Right now China has suffered a major earthquake, people live in fear of far scarier events daily in other parts of the world, and there is so much wrong we need to right. But even after tragedy struck this close to home, I still believe that the vast majority of people on this planet are good people. I believe that we most of us leave the world a little better than we found it each day, even if it’s a simple compliment that may have made someone’s day and not an act of heroism.  Do not lose faith in humanity.  There are always people who are helping.

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