Anniversaries are often cause for celebration, but the reasons can greatly vary. Today marks the 118th running of the Boston Marathon and the first anniversary of the terrorist attack on this iconic event that resulted in so many injuries and deaths.
The Boston Marathon, inaugurated in 1897, is the world’s oldest annual marathon and is ranked as one of the world’s best-known road racing events, being one of six World Marathon Majors. The first running consisted of 18 participants. Today, there are over 36,000 registered competitors. The Marathon is traditionally run on Patriot’s Day, a holiday celebrated only in Massachusetts and Maine and is managed by the Boston Athletic Association.
The world was transfixed by the 2013 bombing and avidly followed the aftermath coverage which featured not only the identification and capture of the accused assailants, but many followup stories portraying the selfless actions of first responders and spectators plus the courage and steadfastness displayed by the wounded, many of whom are still recovering.
Personally, I have no use for politically motivated bombers. To me, there is no worse act of criminality and cowardice than to attack innocent men, women and children gathered to enjoy a civic event. The purpose of such atrocities is to cow the public, to sow fear and dissension among the population of a society in hopes of advancing an oppressive agenda whereby an enemy hopes to gain an advantage in the attempt at eventual domination.
Previously there was the World Trade Center bombing in in 1993 and then “9/11”, followed by numerous attempts to inflict devastation upon Americans such as the “Times Square Bomber”, the “Underwear Bomber” and other failed plots – not to mention other attempts that were uncovered in time to prevent them from doing damage (details of which have been sensibly withheld in order to safeguard information that was used to predict and prevent their implementation).
Today in Boston there will be cause for celebration for those who simply manage to complete this grueling test – let alone those who will join the elite company of previous winners.
And there also should be celebration for a country who refuses to be cowed, that will turn out over a million spectators to attend the race, whose history resonates with courage, determination and defiance in the face of attacks from foreign (and on rare occasion domestic) sources that have sought, and will seek, to undermine our national identity and spirit.
Not only does “Boston Strong” remain, but also “America Strong” is alive and well despite what our detractors continue to attempt to convince themselves.