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I'm from Boston: The Boston Marathon bombing, by writers with local roots

Posted by Carly Carioli  April 16, 2013 11:00 AM

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Photo via Esquire, by Boston photographer Derek Kouyoumjian.

Even as Boston was struggling to come to grips with the magnitude of yesterday's attacks, national publications began trying to translate to their audiences not just the immediate horror of the marathon attacks, but the symbolic trauma to all of Boston: to explain what this meant to the psyche of our city. Here's a selection of great writers -- all of them with Boston roots -- as they attempted to summon the gravity of the Patriots Day bombings. (If you've got pieces I've missed, hit me with links on Twitter @carlycarioli)

Grantland: "The Marathon: The race and the aftermath and a dark day in Boston," by former Boston Globe and Boston Phoenix staff writer Charles Pierce:

"It was what was left behind that wrung the heart as you walked through Copley Square in Boston while the sun fell at the end of a very bad day. Tables full of unopened bottled water. Piles of those strange silver thermal blankets that have become as much a part of the annual event as spaghetti suppers and lost Scandinavians trying to find their way to Fenways Park. Bags of street clothes, waiting in great lines along Berkeley Street for owners who were god knows where. The Common. The Public Garden. Locked down in a restaurant into which they might have wandered to use the facilities. One solitary fireman, slumped on the bumper of a truck, eyes to the sky, without the energy to reach down and pick up a bottle of water at his feet, and then the shadows lengthening down Boylston Street again, and sirens and sirens, and then silence, and sirens some more. This is the tableau that's left when you take out the joy."

The New Yorker: "Two If By Sorrow: Boston and Its Losses," by Jill Lepore:

"I heard about the bombs while walking to a drug store to buy pens. I was crossing Massachusetts Avenue when the news burst onto my phone—frantic texts about explosions. Head down, heart sinking, I nearly ran into a towering figure in black: a reënactor, Paul Revere on a speckled horse. He was riding to Lexington, a ride forlorn."

Sports on Earth: "Heartbreak Hill," by former Boston Globe and Sports Illustrated writer Leigh Montville:

"In one of the clips, I can see three guys pushing a paralyzed kid in an over-sized stroller, much the same way Ricky Hoyt's dad pushes him. I remember them. I cheered for them. Now, boom, they are startled, frightened, hurrying away from the finish line."

New Republic: "There Is No Finish Line: What the Runners Did When the Bombs Went Off," by former Boston Phoenix staff editor S.I. Rosenbaum:

"The runners milled around, stymied. Their cell phones, by that point, were useless. Many were from out of town, or even from overseas, clueless as to where they were or how to get to where they were staying. Others, frantic, tried to reach family who had been waiting for them at the finish line. Frat brothers came out of a nearby house and started passing out bottles of water just as the police announced that there would be buses arriving up the road at Temple Ohabei-Shalom to pick up runners and take them to 'a staging area.' "

Esquire: "Boston Bombing: Toward the Good," by former Weeky Dig editor Joe Keohane

"[Boston] can be a markedly unfriendly town—I’m not the first to point out that Marathon Monday is the happiest day of the year in what can be an otherwise fractious and standoffish burgh—but anyone who has a deeper understanding of the place knows that while Boston is hard to crack, once you’re in, you’re in. The people are ferociously loyal and have inexhaustible reserves of heart. All of which we saw yesterday, as marathon attendees raced into danger to help the fallen. It was truly inspiring."

Wall Street Journal, "A Joyful Day in Boston Ends in Shock," by former Boston Phoenix staff writer Jason Gay:

"It would be awful anywhere, in any setting. But there is something utterly wicked about it happening at such a public location, near the marathon finish line on the storied concrete of Boylston Street. Just steps from what is traditionally the scene of so much personal triumph—people pushing themselves to limits they never thought they had—there is only madness and horror."

S.B. Nation, "Letter from Boston," by former WEEI scribe Paul Flannery:

"The bombs went off a little before 3 p.m. That's when the people you know were finishing. The students and the moms and dads and the people who decided to do something special one time in their life. The ones who raised money for their causes and trained through the snowy morning jogs just to prove something to themselves or the people they love. Maybe you've even done it yourself, or you make a vow to be out there next year. This is our day to be human again after staying inside through the brutally long winter."

This blog is not written or edited by or the Boston Globe.
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