There are few things more quintessentially Boston than the annual Boston Marathon. Held every year on Patriot’s Day, honoring the anniversary of the Battles of Lexington and Concord, the city temporarily shuts down to honor human perseverance and celebrate its history. Everything revolves around the Marathon during the weeks leading up to the event. Bolyston Street outside the Prudential Center gets a new coat of paint at the finish line, temporary gates are set up all down Commonwealth Ave, ads for New Balance and Adidas start springing up, and the Red Sox play their earliest game of the year to allow the final out to coincide with the end of the race. When the three of us were undergraduates at Boston College, Marathon Monday was the highlight of our year. School was canceled as the runners ran through campus, students started celebrating in the wee hours of the morning, and each and every runner gets a roaring cheer from students as they run down Commonwealth Ave. It truly is a celebration, filled with runners from all over the world, each proud to run for their own reasons. For us, Marathon Monday is, and always will be, the highlight of our Aprils.
The three of us were together in an apartment on Commonwealth Ave, and the runners literally went by right underneath the window. We had been winding down our afternoon when we first heard that there was an explosion downtown. It did not register with us. This is Boston, why would anyone want to do that here? Why would anyone want to do that to the Marathon? Then we started wondering about the safety of our friends. We were at mile 21, several miles from the explosion, and had no idea what exactly was happening. One of my roommates was running the marathon, and based on his pace, he should have been finishing right around that time. We found out an hour later that he was nearing the finish line, and heard and saw the explosion. Luckily, he is safe.
Last night, Commonwealth Ave was completely dead. The street had been shut down, only emergency vehicles were allowed on the road. Trash still lined the streets. The runners who had been diverted to St. Ignatius Church at Boston College had been escorted away, still in shock from what happened. An event marked by hundreds of thousands of spectators cheering on thousands of runners from all over the world had been turned into one of the saddest days in Boston History.
Let us pray for the souls of those who lost their lives yesterday. Let us pray for the many injured persons. Let us pray for the families of the victims. Let us pray for all those who are responsible for the care of the victims, and those working to restore the city. Let us pray that Boston responds positively, not in anger, but in love. In the coming days and weeks, I’m sure we will see many displays of strength and solidarity from the city, but let us also be men of prayer. In prayer is true strength and solidarity, as well as the grace to respond to this situation as true Catholic Gentlemen.
St. Patrick, Patron Saint of Boston, Pray for Us.
–Michael, Andrew, and Nicholas