“We are all Patriots”
Those were Robert Kraft’s words after the New England Patriots captured their first championship in the wake of the September 11 attacks.
Today, in the aftermath of the Patriots’ Day bombing at the storied Boston Marathon, they ring truer than ever. Indeed, we are all patriots, and Monday was our day. No longer does Patriots’ Day belong to Boston. No longer is it under the sole ownership of Massachusetts and Maine.
Nor does it belong to the fear and hatred that drove Monday’s horrific act of violence and the diseased filth of society’s undercarriage that perpetrated it. Their day will come in time, though it will be one of justice and reckoning, not patriotism and certainly not one of fear triumphing over inspiration and camaraderie.
No, Patriots’ Day belongs to the eight-year-old boy whose life was tragically cut short. It belongs to the wounded and shell-shocked bystanders who now flood Boston’s trauma centers. It belongs to the police, firefighters and EMTs who saved countless lives with their quick-acting heroism.
It belongs to the volunteers in the medical tents and the spectators who sprung into action and rescued strangers from the horrors of Monday’s violence. It belongs to Joe Andruzzi, the former New England Patriot who was seen carrying victims away from the blast.
It belongs to the parents lining the streets with children perched atop their shoulders and it belongs to the children craning their necks for a better view while the ketchup from their Fenway Franks drips onto dad’s shirt.
It belongs to the runners for whom the finish line wasn’t an arbitrary mark strewn across a city street littered with blood, sweat and tears, but rather a hospital room where they could give blood.
Monday belongs to the families watching at home who saw Boylston Street covered with crushed Gatorade cups but an uncrushable spirit. It belongs to every American who joined the nationwide outpouring of love and support.
It belongs to the international community who tuned in to watch one of the world’s greatest sporting events and cheer for their countrymen.
Patriots’ Day belongs to our forefathers who made a stand for freedom in the face of tyranny, occupation and oppression. It also belongs to those worldwide who risk their lives daily to take a stand of their own and to the generations of liberators who will do so in the future.
Monday belongs to Newtown, Aurora, Oklahoma City and Columbine. It belongs to the passengers of United Airlines Flight 93. It belongs to the suffering masses living under the shadow of genocide and civil war, and it belongs to those across the world who are forced to live in fear.
Patriots’ Day belongs to the enduring human spirit. It embodies mankind’s highest ideals. It reminds us that life is worth fighting for and that the things that make it worth living are worth dying for.
Today, as authorities sift through the debris and wash the blood from Boston’s sidewalks, we are more than victims.
We are patriots.
Patriots’ Day and every day henceforth do now, and forever will, belong to all of us.