A friend of mine, Yvonne Garcia, ran the last leg of the Boston Marathon last year in honor of a friend. She was 100 yards from the finish when the bombs went off. Her young son was waiting for her with the babysitter outside Marathon Sports--until just a few minutes before the blasts, when he said he was thirsty and they went to find water.
Yvonne and her son escaped those bombs by mere moments. And they will both be back this year--Yvonne as a runner, her son at the finish line.
"I want to teach him that we can't let evil win," she said. "We can't let them make us afraid."
This, I think, is the best lesson last year's marathon can teach us.
Within moments after the blasts, every injured person had help--not just from medical personnel, but from ordinary heroes who pulled off their belts to tie off wounds, who lifted people onto stretchers and wheelechairs, who held and comforted until ambulances arrived. From those very first moments, we weren't afraid--and we wouldn't let evil win.
The city's response was quick and powerful. Our emergency medical response was nothing short of amazing; that only three people died is miraculous. The police response was amazing too, as was how we shut everything down and stayed indoors so that the perpetrators could be found and caught. There were the tremendous donations of money and service to help everyone affected. We took care of each other. We weren't afraid--and we wouldn't let evil win.
And here we are, a year later. Jane Richard, whose brother died in the blast, came to the Red Sox home opener at Fenway Park, walking on her prosthetic leg. As a city, we are like her: scarred but stronger. Boston Strong. We will be back along the course from Hopkinton to Boston--because we are not afraid, and we won't let evil win.
Come and be part of it. Find a place on the route and cheer the runners and celebrate all that we have endured and accomplished in the past year. Bring your children. Teach them not to be afraid. Teach them that if we stand together, with each other and for each other, evil cannot win.