If you have read our work, you can see that we mainly focus on sports. However, today is an extremely special day in the city of Boston. As I sit here, on Comm Ave, minutes away from Boylston Street and the Finish Line of the Boston Marathon, I remember the events that happened in 2013 and realize that it feels like yesterday.
A group of students, including myself, decided to go on a Service Trip to Virginia during our Spring Break. I woke up extremely early on April 15, 2013 because we were behind schedule on restoring an old Trailer Home, somewhere in Virginia. We made our lunches and got into the car before the sun had risen. As the sun started to peak through the trees on a warm Virginia day, we finally arrived at the site. I started to work on replacing a handicap ramp to get into the house. We worked hard for 4 or 5 hours until it was time for lunch.
I grabbed my peanut butter sandwich and immediately wolfed it down. As I was sitting in the back of a pickup truck, eating an apple and talking to one of my fellow workers, our site leader rushed to us with his phone.
"A bomb just exploded at the Marathon...they think it was a terrorist attack," he said.
We immediately turned on the local radio and listened in complete silence.
"We interrupt to announce some Breaking News: there has been an attack at the Boston Marathon Finish Line at approximately 2:49, local time. We will bring you more news as it comes in."
Everyone that was on the site was a local and could not believe what was happening. Two workers, leaning against the house, sank to the muddy ground and put their hands in their face. I realized that I was not hungry anymore, threw my apple out and put away my knife.
I felt sick to my stomach, yet we had to finish the job. We finished the ramp, reconstructed the kitchen, and started working on a small shed before we had to pack it up and call it a day because of a lack of sunlight. We left the power tools, axes and anything else that we were planning on using at the site as we started our long drive back to where we were staying. People were quiet, probably still in a state of shock. Aside from our site leader, nobody had phones or a TV to see what was transpiring back home. However, I was able to find a cell signal and called my dad that night.
"What the hell is going on?" I asked as I sat down on a tree stump.
"2 bombs exploded at the Finish Line of the Boston Marathon. I was at work and it was crazy. They have shut down the city and cut off all phone lines for a short amount of time. While I was driving home, I saw armed soldiers driving in military armored trucks into the city," my dad explained.
"Stay safe, I'll be home soon," I said as I hung up the phone.
We worked another day in Virginia, before traveling to North Carolina to catch a flight home. In the hotel room, we watched at they found one of the brothers hiding in the boat and cheered as they brought him out. Our flight was cancelled because of the attacks, but we eventually made it home. As I returned home, a place I had been born and raised for the last 20 years, I felt something different in the air.
And it wasn't as you'd expect.
Our city had just been attacked. 4 people died because of these terrorists, while hundreds had been injured, both physically and mentally. However people weren't scared. People weren't hiding. People were out and about, proud to show the rest of the world that they could not be held back. I saw American flags up and down the streets, blue and yellow laced everywhere, and people writing messages on billboards and crosswalks alike.
For one day, no matter what sports team you rooted for or what part of the country you were from, you were Boston Strong. Yankee fans sang "Sweet Caroline," and countless other stadiums publicly showed their support.
In one of the most emotional moments I have ever witnessed, the Boston Bruins faithful sang the National Anthem, and showed that Boston will prevail.
Boston has, and always will, overcome anything that is thrown our way. Every single year, on the third Monday in April, we will be the only state that stops everything, commemorate Patriots Day, and cheer on the annual Boston Marathon.
Boston Strong, always.
By Pete Packowski @Pete_BBS