This is my journal of a month of my life as I travel from Copenhagen to Paris, London and Boston. Each day, I have promised to share a bit of my travels, feelings, experiences. This day, has proved the most difficult…
The anniversary of the 2013 Boston Marathon bombings is bittersweet for me. I was staying the Charlesmark Hotel last year, as I am this year.
The solemnity of the ceremonies today was touching. Vice President Biden, the governor, the mayor and the former mayor of Boston were all at the Hynes. Security was pretty tight.
My room, on the fifth floor of the Charlesmark was a great view of the honor guard as they went by at about ten minutes to three.
Bells rang at 2:49 pm, the time that the first bomb blast hit last year.
I listened from my room. I thought of the four people killed, the 260 injured and maimed, and how a sacred and iconic event was attacked. With the goal, of most sociopaths, of gaining some form of attention for their cause or causes.
As I was preparing for dinner, after a walk and a nap, I heard that a back pack had been found at the finish line. By the time I got out of the Charlesmark, Boston’s finest were in action, with a bomb squad and a suspect in the Public Library.
During dinner, I heard two explosions. The first was unexpected, and I first thought, oh, damn is it happening all over again? The second, Dan, the manager of the Lenox, went to all the tables in the City Table and told them personally to expect a second blast. Fireman and police were coming in for coffee.
The rain continues to come down, hard and cold. After a day of winds where I was nearly blown over and cold rain pelted many today, as if the gods of winter wanted one last day to mess with people in New England.
That there were no bombings at London, in the Olympics seems even more of a miracle, with the glasses of nearly two years upon us. The bombings in Boston were probably surprising to most, but they shattered our complacency.
The ceremonies today and the gatherings tonight, across Boston should remind us of how precious the good days truly are, and how precious the days with our loved ones are. But, as humans, we only figure that out, when there is little or no chance to replicate those times.
I am in awe of the young men and women who lost limbs, but want to dance, to run, to walk, to live unencumbered, but scarred. Not letting the acts of sociopaths (what else to call them) deter one from having a full life means that they, in the final analysis, loose.
On Monday, thirty-six thousand runners from around the globe, descend on Boston to continue a celebration began over 117 years ago. A sacred ritual of running oneself through the streets of New England, to see how fast one can go for 26.2 miles, all for a piece of metal with a ribbon hooked on it.
The ribbon and medal are important, but they are merely symbols. Those memories, of a race well run, and more that were not, are in one’s soul.
And the soul is a vessel that can not be penetrated by a back pack loaded with materials meant to maim.
For tonight, I will rely on Robert Browning, and the poem that inspired Baron Pierre de Coubertin to introduce the 42 kilometer race in the modern Olympics:
So, when Persia was dust, all cried, “To Acropolis!
Run, Pheidippides, one race more! the meed is thy due!
Athens is saved, thank Pan, go shout!” He flung down his shield
Ran like fire once more: and the space ‘twixt the fennel-field
And Athens was stubble again, a field which a fire runs through,
Till in he broke: “Rejoice, we conquer!” Like wine through clay,
Joy in his blood bursting his heart, – the bliss!
Robert Browning, 1879, Pheidippides
(Note that the word fennel, in Greek, is the word, “marathon“, or the battlefield’s name, hence the race, upon its creation for the modern Olympics, is called The Marathon. If you want to be inspired about the marathon, a story teller as wise as Lucian or Heroditus, the late Bud Greenspan, should be your guide.)