If ever a sports team has embodied the spirit of it’s home town and woven itself into the fabric of the people of their region, it’s the Boston Red Sox. No team knows how to bring out the feeling of community, with more evidence of knowing the hearts and minds that exist in that community, than the Red Sox under their current ownership. Whether it’s a celebration of victory or a solemn moment of remembrance, they understand it is best marked together, as a community. Whenever there is a time of such observance at Fenway Park it is done in a way that embraces every corner of the Olde Towne and every aspect of life in New England.
And so it was last night with a moving tribute prior to the Fenway game with the Baltimore Orioles, 20 minutes spent celebrating the heroes and victims of the tragedy of Patriots Day past, the bombings at the finish line of the 117th running of the Boston Marathon. The heroes in and out of uniform, those on the job and those who just rose to a moment of incredible need, were represented. The injured and permanently disabled were there to be honored, representing a spirit that, in spite of the tragedy, in spite of the hardships that followed, refused to be diminished.
The centerpiece was the team that held their hearts through a summer of healing and lifted them with a World Series championship that was a tribute to, not just the people of the town and the region, but a tribute to the people of a nation that has too frequently in recent years been touched by tragedy created in the darkest reaches of the soul of man. “Boston Strong” became a rallying cry for an entire nation.
In New York, where their bitterest rivals exist, a city itself touched by unspeakable horror, they cheered for Beantown and rooted for a comeback that would prove once again that the American spirit is indomitable.
It’s Patriots Day in Boston, a day that celebrates the spirit that built this nation and turns back all efforts to weaken it. 36,000 runners will tour the 26 miles from Hopkinton to Boston as running proof you can slow us down momentarily, you can force us to take an occasional sidestep, but you can’t stop us.
36,000 runners, many of them victims of last year’s tragedy, displaying the will that could not be taken from them. You can take a leg, you can take an arm or an eye, but you can’t take away the American spirit. It’s not just about one city, or one region or one baseball team, but that team, the Boston Red Sox, brought them all together last night to celebrate that, one year later, we are still here. It was a celebration on a national stage that stretched well beyond Boston. It’s a celebration of who we are.
It’s Patriots Day in America. New York City and Columbine, Colorado. Oklahoma City and Fort Hood, Texas. Newtown, Connecticut, Lancaster County Pennsylvania and Blacksburg, Virginia. Today in America we’re all “Boston Strong”.
With a Patriots Day comment from the sports world, I’m Scott Gray.