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Red Sox deliver ultimate 'Boston Strong' moment

Posted by Obnoxious Boston Fan  November 2, 2013 11:40 AM

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tweet.jpg[Trophy Photo via Boston Globe/Darren Durlach]

"V-E Day" marked the end of World War II in Europe.

"V-J Day" celebrated the end of the hostilities in the Pacific.

"V-B Day" commemorated the eighth World Series championship of the Boston Red Sox, and the loss and triumph of those affected by the Boston Marathon bombings.

Duck Boat Saturday.

November 2, 2013.

It's why we watch all those games throughout the spring and summer, spend all that money on tickets, beer and parking, and stay up past midnight virtually every night in October when this team in the postseason.

This Duck Boat Saturday brought with it a dimension that its 2004 counterpart was lacking. [The 2007 Duck Boat parade was held for some reason on a Tuesday.]

It gave the City of Boston, those who love it so, and a nation, a mix of joy and sorrow, as the Duck Boats rolled though Boston from Fenway Park down Boylston Street and eventually into the Charles River. Millions in person, on TV, computers and smart phones around the world that is also known as Red Sox Nation watched those lovable Bearded Boys of Spring, Summer and Fall on Team Chemistry hailed as the conquering baseball heroes they have become.

People laughed for sure at the antics of David Ortiz, smiled seeing players like Jake Peavy holding up their children [PS - this just in, the Red Sox won that trade] and waited for someone to hold up a sign that said "Derek Jeter and Bobby Valentine are Playing Golf Today and This Is Better."

The Rolling Rally stopped at the finish line of the Boston Marathon, where so many lives stopped at 2:49 p.m. on April 15 of this year. Jonny Gomes placed the World Series trophy on the painted marker and draped a "Boston 617 Strong" jersey over baseball's most-coveted piece of hardware as his teammate Jarrod Saltalamacchia watched.

Think American flag over Iwo Jima, U.S.S. Missouri in Tokyo Bay or Neil and Buzz on the moon.

It was the first moment the city and region could commemorate those injured or taken by Marathon Bombings on a mass, public scale.

The lone TV feed of the event fizzled and the sound all but disappeared. No one watching on TV - at least while it was happening - could tell what was being said. Nor did it really matter.

Something, someone, somewhere, somehow caused this technical glitch. Of all the moments documented across the broadcast and digital spectrum this season, this one was denied to anymore more than 100 feet away.

It was fitting in so many ways. Almost a blessing. In this age of everything being posted for everyone to see. The most public of all public moments was a private one. It was staged to honor those whom we lost and those who continue to struggle in the aftermath of what happened that day. Everyone watching was left to come up with their own words.

Pick your emotion.

Joy. Sadness. Anger. Applause. Solemnity. Happiness to be alive. Survivor's guilt thinking about those who weren't. Intense national pride during "God Bless America." Awkwardness over thinking "when will it all be enough." Conceit. Humility.

Ground Zero became Ground Infinity.

There were players, marathon survivors, first responders, regular fans.

Heroes all, for many different reasons.

Those of you whom follow this space, read about Father Chip Hines, who delivered the funeral mass for Krystle Campbell only to find peace and solace at Fenway Park, later that same night. We learned first-hand about the never-ending-pain felt by Allen Collier, the father of slain MIT police officer Sean Collier, who was estranged from his mother for decades. The emotion and gratitude felt by Sean's brother Andrew and sister, Jennifer Lemmerman, and the rest of their family offered a terrific perspective heading into Game 6.

Marc Fucarile, who spent 100 nights in two hospitals after losing his right leg and suffering a myriad of other injuries after the second blast on Patriots' Day, talked about how he had to watch Game 1 of the World Series back at Mass General. He got that seat thanks to having to undergo his 50th [or so] surgical procedure since the attacks earlier that day.

When we spoke, each was asked about what "Boston Strong" means to them. The consensus went something like this: "The fans, players and teams who use it are sincere. Too many others who use it are not."

So forget for a moment the marketing types, the whores selling unlicensed t-shirts and mugs without donating any or all of the proceeds to "The One Fund" or another legitimate charity, or those who yell "Boston Strong" each time they down a shot of Bushmills during happy hour.

They are the idiots who always seem to be there no matter what.

One can still feel "Boston Strong" and hold on to its true meaning despite what too many others have done with it. The Red Sox players, along with their counterparts on the Bruins and Patriots, made multiple hospital visits and gave to these victims. The "Boston 617 Strong" jersey went up in the dugout on April 16 and never left. Survivors, their families, police, the victims, the city were all honored for their sacrifices many times. So often, those ceremonies came when the team completed one crazy #WalkOffCity win after another.

Behind those beards was a team that lacked star power but was loaded with talent, hustle, work-ethic, character and characters.

Adults know what a baseball team can do and what it can't do in helping the healing process.

This was a "once in a lifetime season."

Thank goodness.

There was nothing exploitative that happened on Saturday. No doubt the next issue of "Rolling Stone" will feature the Yankees on its cover just to make us think about another perspective. The small voices on the interwebs and elsewhere will rail directly from Mom's basement about how Boston is the best city in the world when it come to celebrating tragedy.

Boston is so much larger than that. Its people, past and present, and those who call it home have demonstrated remarkable resiliency from the reign of King George III to the fall of the House of Steinbrenner.

2013 was a compressed high-def JPEG of every year in Boston since 1630, perfectly illustrated by the image of the World Series trophy placed on the finish line of the Boston Marathon Saturday.

It will be the signature image of a season and year filled with so many other moments of a lifetime.

The story of Boston in 2013 in one photo on a glorious day.

From tragedy to triumph.

No words necessary.

[NOTE: "Collier Strong," an eight-minute film about the brotherly bond between Andrew, who is a mechanic for Hendrick Motor Sports, and Sean Collier will air on Fox Sports 1's Race Day coverage at 1 p.m. on Sunday. The feature was produced by NASCAR and is narrated by Donnie Wahlberg and includes interviews with Sean Collier's siblings, MIT Police Department Patrol Sergeant David O’Connor and Collier’s auxiliary supervisor at the Somerville Police Department, Officer Bob Ankenbauer.]

Don't forget to visit our Obnoxious Boston Fan blog. As always, let us know what you think. Post your thoughts here, on our Obnoxious Boston Fan Facebook page, on Twitter @realOBF or e-mail me at obnoxiousbostonfan@hotmail.com.

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