#BostonStrong (updated as of 11:30pm 4.19)

By Dan

This week we saw one of the most horrific scenes imaginable during the Boston marathon. I don’t need to go into details, since we all know the details by now. But I felt I needed to touch on the subject considering I spent the best 5 years of my life in that great city.

My heart dropped when I originally heard the news. I had even just mentioned to a coworker that I couldn’t believe I was missing Marathon Monday, which was my favorite Boston holiday (followed closely by St. Patty’s day).

Moments later, I opened up Google and read that there had been two explosions. I saw the pictures, and then the video, and then the real pictures. During each new development I was frantically texting, facebooking, and tweeting all of my Boston friends.

One by one I heard from them. My Parker Hill ‘family.’ The Express gang. The girl I left behind when I moved. The two girls I knew that were running, and later found out had been stopped at mile 25. The people I had vowed not to talk to because I held a grudge. I didn’t care anymore. Everyone needs to be okay. And luckily they were.

But even as I was watching safely from my office in DC, away from all the chaos, I couldn’t help but get this overwhelming feeling that I needed to be there. I wanted to be with all of my friends. I wanted to be able to hug them. To comfort them in any possible way. And to enjoy knowing they were sitting there next to me instead of getting a simple text or status update.

While that was impossible, I slowly found comfort in the stories of courage and compassion that were coming out. The story of the trauma surgeon that ran the marathon, then ran to his hospital to be available for surgery. Or of the national guardsmen and women, first responders, and complete strangers who tore away gates to get to the victims, not knowing whether another blast would go off or not. Or even of the great, though often clumsy, Mayor Menino checking himself out of the hospital because he refused to sit in a hospital while his city was under attack.

These are the stories that got me through Monday.

Then there was America’s response. And man, was it a response. Everyone became a Bostonian on Monday. The Chicago Tribune printed this picture:

"We are Chicago Red Sox; We are Chicago Celtics; We are Chicago Bruins; We are Chicago Patrios; We are Chicago Revolution"

“We are Chicago Red Sox; We are Chicago Celtics; We are Chicago Bruins; We are Chicago Patrios; We are Chicago Revolution”

The god damn New York Yankees played “Sweet Caroline” during the 3rd inning of their game on Tuesday. When the hell will that happen again? Hopefully, never (for Yankees AND Red Sox fans’ sake).

And then over the last few days you’ve seen the lasting response from my beloved Beantown. The Facebook pictures from the various vigils and services. People vowing to run even harder at next year’s marathon. The giant human wall that formed and will be formed to block out the Westboro Baptist Church from picketing the funerals of those lost. Athletes like Danny Amendola pledging every catch and dropped ball to the One Fund. And the amazing scene at the TD Garden for Wednesday’s Bruins that must be watched to be appreciated. See it below:

And now the city has been put on lockdown while the massive manhunt for the remaining suspect(s) are tracked down. The city is literally at a stand-still. Never before has that happened. Not even during 9/11.

And once again I’ve been frantically checking in on my friends. Schools are closed. Businesses are closed. Public transit is closed. All anyone can do in Boston is sit and watch the manhunt unfold moment by moment. It’s terrifying just watching from my desk in DC. I can’t fathom how it must feel in and around Boston.

But it’s only a matter of time. He/they will be caught. We can only hope that he/they are caught alive. That way they can feel the full hammer of justice, and finally give us some answers to everyone’s biggest question: “Why?”

I won’t be able to say anything else that hasn’t already been said by far better orators than I (see: Elizabeth Warren’s first speech on the Senate floor, or Governor Deval Patrick and President Obama’s speech at today’s interfaith service); I can only give you my thoughts and perspective.

My heart aches for Boston. It’s the city I have come to call home, even though I spent more time in Connecticut and Texas; I miss it.

There is one thing I know for certain, though. Boston will get through this. Boston will be better just to spite the assholes that did this. They have no idea how much fun Bostonians are going to have rallying behind our Red Sox, and our playoff bound Bruins and Celtics. “For Boston” will be played at every god damn sporting event, bar, Sunday brunch, church service, and wedding for years.

So, terrorists, you killed 3 people before their time and injured hundreds more. We’ll grieve their loss, and remember their lives. And even though you blew off his legs, the guy who first ID’d you was the guy in the wheelchair of this now iconic photo.

Jeff Bauman (wheelchair) gave a description of bombing suspects after waking up from sedation

Jeff Bauman (wheelchair) gave a description of bombing suspects after waking up from sedation

So, congratufuckinglations. You just unleashed the pride of Beantown. The Hub of the Universe. The founding city of America. The city of Mother. Fucking. CHAMPIONS. The city that will literally SHUT DOWN EVERYTHING to hunt you like a dog. You have no idea what you got yourselves into.

I can no longer say I live in Boston. But it will always be my city. I may have left Boston. But Boston sure as hell didn’t leave me.

We will never forget. We are #BostonStrong.

UPDATE:

It’s finally over. I can breath easy. Boston can breath easy. After a more than city wide lock down and manhunt, we finally got the bastard.

Everyone can take a collective sigh of relief, then go buy a first responder as many beers as they can drink.

Seriously, the story is going to be the hunt, but the bigger story was the hunters. How these absolutely amazing men and women continued to chug along hour by hour, knowing they were dealing with the most wanted man in America, is utterly amazing. There are no words to do it justice.

And hats off the everyone in the lock down zone for being the most cooperative city in crisis in the history of ever.

Right wing nut jobs are going to say temporary martial law was enforced, more than likely. But we all know it wasn’t that. It was the collective desire of the city of Boston to catch that mother fucker. No matter what it took.

So, Boston, party your asses off tonight. I wish I could be there right now more than ever.

Always #BostonStrong.

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