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Tragedy at Boston's Greatest Sporting Event
The Boston Marathon is perhaps the greatest sporting tradition we have in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. It brings together elite athletes who inspire us with abilities seemingly out of the realm of the human spectrum and regular athletes who strive to overcome a test of physical resolve. That test of resolve transcended the physical on Monday, when our great race was marred by a tragedy that left several people dead and over a hundred more injured.
Sports isn't supposed to be all that serious. It's an escape, a chance for us to take a few hours away from the stresses of every day life and relax while watching a Red Sox game or sitting on the bleachers at a local high school.
We elevate sports, at times a bit too high on our list of priorities. Some events, however, are worthy of celebration, and the marathon is one of them. This year's marathon had more than 27,000 runners from 96 different countries. All of them had the simple dream of finishing the grueling course. Many of them were raising thousands of dollars for a wide array of charitable causes. The fact that all of this takes place on Patriots' Day, a holiday and tradition unique to our state, makes this a truly great celebration.
Unfortunately, in a world where evil is all too inevitable, our greatest celebrations, events, or cities, can also become our greatest targets.
There are no simple words I, or anyone else, could offer to ease the pain or fear or uneasiness we all feel in the aftermath of such senseless violence.
But I will say that history has proven certain, incontrovertible facts. Terrorism against this country and its people fails, it always has. It serves to strengthen the resolve of that which it was trying to destroy. It brings us closer, in all aspects. It reminds us the things that unite us are much stronger than that which would divide us.
On Monday, we saw all that is worst in humanity, but also all that is best. We saw our first responders rise to the occasion as they do every day of their lives for far too little recognition. We saw regular citizens running towards an explosion to see who they could help, carrying people to safety, offering comfort in a scene of utter chaos and confusion. We saw people who had just run 26.2 miles and taxed their bodies to the limit head to the nearest hospital to give blood.
We saw an outpouring of support from across the country, particularly in the world of sports. From a stirring national anthem before a hockey game in Chicago, to a moment of silence in Montreal, to a chanting crowd in Oakland, to an incredible catch by a Philadelphia outfielder with the words "PRAY for Boston" written across his glove. The message from the rest of the country to Boston was palpable, "We've got your back."
And now, we move forward together. In the coming days, weeks, and months, there will be investigations and questions and perhaps more pain and heartache than we care to imagine. But there will also be hope and healing. And as a sporting event was the target of this attack, sports itself will play a crucial role in our healing. We will fill stadiums, crowd into local ballparks, and enjoy one of our most beloved escapes, perhaps with a greater sense of perspective than we once had.
And it is my hope that next year, even with increased security and maybe a few headaches or delays, we will see even more people lining the streets of Boston. I ran my first marathon last year in Burlington, Vermont. Next year, I hope to be one of the field running proudly through the streets of Boston, a small part of a great celebration and a city and event that will emerge stronger and more unified than ever before.




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