Tragedy on a Uniquely Boston Day

There was a line in a news story about Monday’s tragic bombing in Boston that said something along the lines of this: “Patriots’ Day is an important holiday in Boston, but is not widely celebrated outside of Massachusetts.”

It’s true – Patriots’ Day is a uniquely Boston holiday – a uniquely Boston day really. To an outsider, it probably looks like an odd mish-mash of events coming together on one day.

  • There’s the re-enactment of the Battle of Lexington and Concord, the battles that began the American Revolution and the events that the day is designed to honor.
  • There’s the running of the Boston Marathon, a historic event in its own right as the world’s oldest annually held marathon.  With 27,000 runners and a world-class field, many call it Marathon Monday, forgetting the original intent of the day.
  • The Boston Red Sox play a home game at the unusual time of 11 a.m., which allows the fans to leave Fenway Park in time to walk down to Kenmore Square to cheer on the runners.
  • Schools and public offices are closed, and there are smaller parades and celebrations across the city and state.

All of these things came together yesterday – as they do every year in a pattern that’s familiar to all of us here.  Boston is a major city, but in many ways it’s a small town. If you’ve lived here for a while, chances are you or someone you know has run the Marathon. In the Boston office of Text100, we were proud to see our own Sean Audet cross the finish line on a brutal 90 degree Patriots’ Day a few years ago.  If you haven’t run, you’ve probably gone to watch it – with 500,000 spectators every year, it’s by far the most widely attended sporting event in New England every year. One way or another, it seems everyone in Boston is personally connected to Patriots’ Day.

Sadly, that’s more true than ever now. Most of us at Text100 Boston were working yesterday, our offices just over a mile from the scene of the bombing.  We watched the scene from across town unfold on TV with the sound of emergency vehicles echoing through the streets outside our windows.  As the grim realization that terrorism had struck our city began to set in, we faced frightening questions. Were our friends, colleagues and loved ones at the race okay? Was it safer to go home or to stay put in the office? Was the attack over, or would there be more explosions, more panic, more casualties in our city?

Twenty-four hours later, we still have more questions than answers. We don’t know who did this awful thing or why. We don’t know the names of all of the victims. We don’t know if this was the end of something, or the beginning.

But amidst the uncertainty, we do know some things. We know we’re proud of how our city has responded to terror. We know our team at Text100 Boston is safe. We know we appreciate the thoughts of friends, family and colleagues who have checked in on us from every corner of the globe.

And we know that we’ll never forget what happened yesterday. The day that our city and our unique little holiday was marred by something that’s all too common around the world.

*Please note, this post originally appeared on our Text100 Boston office blog.

Image courtesy of the Boston Red Sox.

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