Trying to put the past week into context is probably one of the most surreal experiences of my life. I’m part of the 9/11 generation. I’ve seen terror strike before. But I’ve never seen it strike here. I’ve never seen it strike on the streets which I’ve walked my entire life. The one recurring thought that keeps running through my head still is “They got the marathon.” It’s almost as if I still don’t want to believe it, but I have to convince myself its true.
The truth is that these two losers, as their Uncle Ruslan so eloquently called them, took from us the lives of Martin Richard, Krystle Campbell, Lu Lingzi, and Sean Collier. They gruesomely injured many more of our friends and loved ones. And it was all done with the intent to shake the very foundations and values that this city and country we're built on.
What these “brothers of doom” failed to realize is that Boston is a family. We pick each other up when we’re down. And we’re brutally honest, but it’s almost always out of love. We’re a hilarious bunch of tough, hard-working, and resilient people with bad accents and sometimes even worse attitudes. And we always enjoy a good fight. It’s been in our DNA since Sam Adams was running the town. Our defiance is what makes us who we are. And you’ll never beat our determination as our police forces so courageously showed this week.
It’s these characteristics that make us one of the best sports towns around. The teams that we’ve known and loved over the years have always in one way or another identified with our way of life. We love watching gritty and disciplined groups of people come together for one common purpose. We love watching people fight and claw to achieve goals much bigger than themselves. And we’ve always love a little rowdiness and dysfunction thrown in the mix, when you’re winning of course. Beer and chicken boys, you guys aren’t off the hook yet. Our principles as a people have always determined who the true champions and legends are in this city.
These principles have allowed this city’s sports landscape to compete over the years against some of the greatest teams and names to ever play.
Kobe Bryant and Derek Jeter both have five rings a piece. They both play for the biggest teams in their respective sports in the Los Angeles Lakers and the New York Yankees. And both of their biggest rivals both reside in Boston. LeBron James is one the greatest forces of athletic power that any sport has ever seen. But he had to leave Cleveland so he could beat Boston. Peyton Manning will possibly own every quarterback record when he decides to hang it up and his quest to a Lombardi Trophy will always be linked to having to be finally beat the Patriots.
And there are an entire city of French-Canadian people who will spit on the ground if you even mention the Bruins. Oh, and did I forget to mention that their team has won 24 Stanley Cups?
Our teams represent who we are. We’re not South Beach. We’re not Hollywood. We’re not Manhattan. We are Boston, the birthplace of America. We like an uphill battle. We don’t need the glitz and glam.
All we need is for our guys to come into your town for a couple of days a year and just remind you who we are. And we’re content with that because in the end all we need is the possibility of being able to go to a parade four times a year. That’s it. You can keep the rest. We just want the ability to have a few drinks and come together as a rowdy mob of celebration.
I’ve seen many people say we should have a parade for all of our officers who put their lives on the line for our city. And that is the greatest compliment this city can pay to them. It means that they’re on par with those who’ve we considered champions and legends. But the work they did was more important than any championship that this city has ever won.
They weren’t getting paid millions of dollars to play a kids game. They were protecting their families, friends, and neighbors because it was their duty. And through their bravery and diligence they united us like we had just won a championship. This city owes them all a great debt of gratitude, and I have no doubt that our local teams will do an outstanding job of making sure to promote who the true heroes are in this city. They deserve nothing less than being put on that level.
And for those directly affected by this senseless tragedy just know that you are not alone. We will never forget, just as we will never falter in our love and support of each other in the face of horror. We will grieve together and we will fight to make sure that this never happens to any members of our family again.
But we will never forget who we truly are as a city because our loved ones would not have it any other way. The images of people running into the smoldering unknown of Boylston Street to help their fellow citizens and marathoners continuing straight to the hospital to give blood will live on forever.
Sports brings us together now just as it has for every Boston Marathon since 1897, and I have no doubt that it will have a huge role in the healing process of this city. These teams are extensions of who we are. They represent the true character of this city and for that we rabidly support them. We lean on them for entertainment and for that inner-fighting spirit that every Bostonian loves exhibiting.
But in these upcoming weeks we will lean on them for hope, relief, and a sense of normalcy and peace. It’s an unbelievably strong and beautiful bond that defines this city and its people. It’s who we are.
So in one last act of classic Boston defiance I would like to thank those who shall remain nameless that perpetrated these horrendous crimes. Not for your cowardice or for the fact that you could actually do such heinous things to other human beings. I would like to thank you for uniting this city. I would like to thank you for giving us the ability to show the world who we really are. And I would like thank you for making us stronger than ever. We’ll come together in the upcoming weeks to root on our teams that we so dearly love, pay tribute to our heroes, and remember those who are gone and still struggling because that’s what we do. And there’s nothing you can ever do that could change that.
We aren’t going anywhere. We are America. We are Boston. We are family.