Bostonians Unite

MarathonI’m a Bostonian, and you are, too.

No matter where you’re from, you’ve got that Boston blood boiling through you. You may not know it yet, but you soon will.

So, what makes up a Bostonian? Plenty of good, bad and indifferent factors comprise your standard-issued Bostonian. Where one is born may have a lot to do with it, according to some, but as this tragedy will prove, we’ve all got a little Boston in us.

I spent six wonderful years as a Boston resident — a mere blink of an eye to many of its prideful natives. However, as millions can attest, a day in this city lasts a lifetime. I’ll never claim to be from Boston, and there’s a chance I’ll never be an official inhabitant of its city limits again. But I repeat: I am a proud Bostonian.

If you’re reading this, you are, too.

If you woke up on Tuesday, realized Monday wasn’t just a bad dream, and your first thought was, “What can I do to help?” then you’re a Bostonian.

If you’ve ever been punched in the gut by adversity only to smack it square in the nose, you’re a Bostonian.

If you’ve ever “gotten back on the horse,” you’re a Bostonian.

If you felt helpless while watching the terror unfold because you believe you could have helped, you’re a Bostonian.

If you’ve ever helped a neighbor or chatted up a stranger, you’re a Bostonian.

Boston has and always will represent many things — among them passion, community and toughness. But what Boston represents most is resilience. From its founding fathers to its future leaders, Boston’s determination and love for its fellow man have prevailed time after time, and this Boston Marathon massacre will prove, once more, that nothing can get between this town’s people and its prosperity. Boston isn’t the biggest, best or brightest city on the planet, but its people are like none other. And you’re among them.

Boston’s hospitals are world-renowned, and its people are, too. The cowards behind these attacks probably didn’t realize this. Hundreds of ordinary people ran toward the blasts. Volunteers, runners, fans, mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers of all race, age and background ran toward the blast zones. Folks handing out water and blankets became nurses. Police officers, photographers and spectators became doctors. Anyone who was physically capable cleared the area for personnel to get close enough to save who knows how many lives.

The world certainly knows a thing or two about The Hub, but this incident will peel back a few layers and reveal just what makes Boston Boston. Its passion. Its heart. Its people. Boston isn’t just a small pocket in Eastern Mass. situated on a harbor and along the Charles River — Boston serves as a representative for the six states that make up New England and the prosperous folks in them. Now, with the world in its corner, Boston is unbeatable. Justice will be served, but that’s not the No. 1 priority right now. Just as they did within milliseconds of the first blast, this city’s people are focusing on the city’s people by opening their homes, donating blood and offering whatever services they can to prove that this isn’t how things are in this pocket of the world.

The Boston Marathon is more than just an annual running event for the region. This international spectacle invites goodness from across the globe, hosting hundreds of thousands of people, embracing them with the warmth that mine and yours have experienced every time we step foot on its historic soil. The 26.2-mile strip of asphalt is filled with men, women and children — running, cheering or volunteering — with one goal in mind, and it’s not finishing a race — it’s togetherness. It’s the togetherness that will turn this tragedy into triumph. As New York proved in 2001, it takes more than a city to bounce back, and it takes years and years to return to form. But that’s the thing: It returns. It returns because of you, whether you’re an official or unofficial Bostonian.

Will the marathon ever be the same, thanks to these cowards? Probably not. The terror that did strike between those 11 seconds on Monday afternoon, however, won’t bring down future events — it will only lift the spirits of those within. A couple of horrific blasts will not keep folks away next year. In fact, it will draw even more runners, walkers, volunteers and fans. Although it’s tough to swallow, next year’s marathon will be better than ever. That’s just how we do things here.

That’s Boston. That’s what happens when bad things occur. Great people step up, and there are no greater people than the folks of this beloved city. Keep a keen eye on your fellow Bostonians today, not out of suspicion but out of solidarity. While you’re at it, smile brighter, laugh louder, hug tighter and listen longer. There are some great people who do some great things in this world, and Boston will prevail.

Thank you, Bostonians — near and far, from wherever you call home.