Just a short post here about the five year anniversary of the Boston Marathon Bombing. I was in my freshman year of college, and I commuted, and I remember coming home from classes to the news about the bombing. I remember how the police didn’t really know who the suspects were, and they really had no clue where they were in the city.
As the week went on, the FBI led the investigation, and by Thursday of that week, they released pictures of the two suspects—two brothers. That caused the entire city of Boston to be on edge and I think at one point it was on lockdown while they searched for them. It ultimately led to a manhunt, an MIT police officer being killed, kidnapping of a man in his car, and a shootout with police in Watertown. One of the brothers ran over the other with a car to try to get away from the police. That Friday night, a Watertown resident found the brother in his boat, and he was arrested and charged with use of a weapon of mass destruction and with malicious destruction of property resulting in death. (He has since been given the death penalty and is awaiting execution at a prison in Colorado.)
I remember following along during the week, waking up in the morning hoping that they caught the suspects. I’d work on papers in the library and watch live streams of NBC as they covered the story. The story shook the nation, but it hit New England pretty hard. Nothing like this had happened in Boston before; sadly, we’re used to things like this happening in New York City, just in the other direction.
The Red Sox were playing that day, like they do every Patriots Day. The game started at 11:00 a.m., and the team helped the city of Boston recover and heal from this bombing. “Boston Strong” was the slogan that became a rallying cry, and the Sox soon adapted “B Strong”—with the “B” in the same font used by the team for its name.
The team traveled to Cleveland right after Monday’s game, and once they were back in Boston at Fenway that weekend, David Oritz spoke before the game—giving probably one of his most memorable speeches:
“All right, Boston,” Big Papi said, clapping his hands. “This jersey that we wear today, it doesn’t say ‘Red Sox.’ It says ‘Boston.’ We want to thank you, Mayor [Thomas] Menino, Governor [Deval] Patrick, the whole police department for the great job that they did this past week.”
And then, the kicker.
“This is our f——- city. And nobody’s going to dictate our freedom. Stay strong.” (ESPN)
The team had a jersey in the dugout during the rest of the season that said “Boston Strong” with the number 617—Boston’s area code.
Then something happened, like something you only see in the movies: the Red Sox won the World Series that year. It was just what the city needed, and I cried after the final out of game six. I sat on the couch in my apartment at school and cried, and my roommate thought I was crazy. That season was the season of comebacks and the season of the band of bearded brothers.
It seems weird that it’s already been five years since the bombing, since I feel like Boston Strong is so engraved in Red Sox nation and New England life. So we’ll remember those who lost their lives in the bombing, those who were injured, and the first responders who were on the scene trying to make any sense of what happened in those moments after the bombs went off.