The anniversary of the Boston Marathon bombing is fast approaching, leaving Bostonians and the nation to reflect on last year’s horrific events.
The public has come to learn of the heroes who were born out of chaos during that fateful week in April 2013, and one of them is former Boston mayor Tom Menino. What many people aren’t aware of, though, is the personal strength the mayor displayed to lead his city through a moment of tragedy despite his own ailments.
Menino had six screws and a metal plate installed in his right ankle on Saturday, April 13, after he twisted it while exiting his car. Two days later, an aide rushed into his hospital room to tell him a bomb had just gone off at the marathon finish line. The 70-year-old mayor leaped into action in the form of countless calls, meetings and orders — all without the help of painkillers. The recovering mayor wanted to “keep his mind clear,” he told FOX Sports earlier this week.
Menino was no stranger to illness. The five-time reelect was recently diagnosed with advanced cancer, only adding to his previous battles with Type 2 diabetes, a respiratory condition, Crohn’s disease and blood clots.
Weeks after announcing he wouldn’t seek a sixth term in office, Menino joined President Barack Obama and Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick for a nationally broadcast prayer service at the Cathedral of the Holy Cross. Menino rose from his wheelchair, grimacing in pain, and addressed his city in mourning.
“It is a glorious thing, the love and strength that covers our city,” Menino said to the prayer service crowd. “It will push us forward, it will push thousands and thousands of people across the finish line next year. Because this is Boston, a city with courage, compassion and strength that knows no bounds.”
The city on a hill wasn’t an impersonal, vague entity to Menino. The Italian-American was known for his down-to-earth manner, and a poll once showed that half the people of Boston said they had met him at one point. That’s about 320,000 Boston proper citizens.
This courage, compassion and strength that Menino speaks of continues to form the identity of Boston culture, from its sports teams to its diverse neighborhoods. Mayor Menino fumbled a few sports terms in his day, but he’ll never falter in exemplifying the true meaning of Boston Strong.
One of the former mayor’s final duties in office was to set up a relief effort for those affected by the Boston Marathon bombings. The One Fund has since raised more than $60 million.
Photo via Twitter/@bostonpolice