4/14/13, it was well, a day in the City of Boston
I’m surprised I’ve never written up the experience of Patriot’s Day 2013, the day of the Boston Marathon bombing. I must have, but I can’t find it. The thing about Patriot’s Day is it’s a Monday when spring has started to bloom around the city, people are emerging from winter hibernation, excited for even slightly warm weather. It’s a holiday in the City of Boston. It’s school vacation week. We have a world class athletic event, the Boston Marathon and there is a Red Sox game at 11 am. The only morning MLB game that ever happens. It’s planned that way because Fenway is about a mile from the marathon finish line. The game lets out, and the people can stream down to different locations to cheer on the runners. For many, it’s burned into our lives. Often parents bring their kids to watch somewhere along the marathon route or the game. Then we grow up, we go on our own with our friends, eventually being old enough to partake in bars along the route. Time marches on and then people are bringing their own kids to watch. It’s a day steeped in our history and psychology. It’s why 2013 hurt so much. It was like an attack on our childhood, our lives, this even that most of us have experienced and enjoyed. How fucking dare they?
So here is my story, which is only that I was somewhat nearby and knowing what I know now, we were never in danger. In that, we were fortunate, but also it haunts me. And I can’t emphasize enough: how fucking dare they?
I recently downloaded my Twitter archive, which allows me to access some real time thoughts from that week; perhaps the craziest week of my life. For a few years prior, we’d gone to the Patriot’s Day game with pretty large group. We met at the insane hour of 7am. Each group was responsible to bring a breakfast like food (and there ended up being so, so much food every year). But even prior, my friend would pick me up at 6am, then pick up another friend, then we need our trip to Dunkin Donuts for large coffees to kick off the day. One we arrive to the pre-game location, the drinking and eating commenced. It’s a fun day.
I been to Fenway earlier the same week, when Dempster also started. Things that seemed important prior to 2:49 PM.
Eventually, full of food and booze we make our way to Fenway, the most beautiful ballpark in the world.
We should also remember that 4/15 is also Jackie Robinson day for the MLB. All the players wear #42 in his honor, and let’s just say: what a enormous service he gave to baseball.
The game is always fun, win or lose, it’s always so much fun. But on this day, the Rays tied it in the 9th and then the Red Sox walked it off. Thank you, Mike Napoli. Everyone can go home happy!
(and I loved Cody Ross in 2012…. Loved him)
We made our way out of America’s most beloved ballparks. The previous couple of years, we had gone directly to the finish line as we had a friend who had run. But that year, she happened to be training for an Ironman (crazy bitch), and didn’t run. So we went toward Kenmore Square to get down Comm Ave where we had parked. I remember it being crazy crowed. To get across the street you have to go into the Kenmore T station underground to go under Beacon St. where the runners in progress. We made it across and were in front the Barnes & Noble. By the time we got there, there were cops screaming through Kenmore.
This is how we find out.
Almost simultaneously, we hear via a police officer’s walkie talkie(?): major explosion! Everyone roll out. Police came from all directions, jumped on a set of motorcyles parked in from of Barnes & Noble and peel out. It was impressive. Thank you, Boston Police Department. Standing on the corner staring at each other, we don’t know what to do. Twitter is telling us more and more about what is happening at the finish line, so we walk way down Comm Ave. Police, first responders from every city and town west of Boston are flooding in, coming down Comm Ave. It was terrifying and spectacular. Thank you, first responders! .k We go into a bar. Sometimes I can’t believe we did this, but our brains were scrambled, and we had so little information. The bar was quiet. No one seemed to know what was going on. We tell them: turn on the tv! The bar continued to fill out with people coming out of the game, everyone staring in silence.
I’m still not really sure. But the city, the entire area came together like I’ve never seen, because, once again, fuck those guys. One Boston Day has become a day to remember those who lost their lives, and those who were injured or impacted by the bombings. The resilience many of them have shown over the ten years since has been truly inspirational. See some of their stories here: https://apps.bostonglobe.com/metro/2023/04/boston-marathon-bombing-10-years/