In the wake of today’s bombings at the finish line to the Boston Marathon, I feel the need to say a few things about Boston. It’s not because I have family and friends living there, or the company that I work for is headquartered there, or I have fond memories of my visits there, as recently as last summer. All of those things are true, and I’m grateful for them all, but that’s not what compels me to write at this moment.
I write because I’m an American, and I appreciate the pre-eminent role that Boston has in the history of this nation. Visiting the site of the Boston Massacre made me realize that the city was at the forefront of the resistance to British rule. The king was forever dealing with Boston, and I imagine he became sick of it as the years went by. And when he overplayed his hand and tried to bring the colonies to heel, Boston fought back instead. They fired on the king’s troops 238 years ago this month, and then kept those troops at bay, denying the British the stronghold they were seeking to gain by taking the city and its port. Who knows how–or if–the Revolution would have succeeded without Boston’s resolute defense of itself.
But Boston has given us all more than that. Horace Mann, who thought that all children should learn how to read and write, came from Boston. The Abolitionist movement, who stated the controversial idea that human beings should not be kept as slaves, also emanated from Boston. And the idea that consenting adults who love each other should be allowed to marry each other–no matter their gender–first came to us from Massachusetts and Boston. The city has often led the way socially, while the rest of the nation has often struggled to catch up.
The attack on the city today caused great injuries and loss of life. I’m beyond outraged that an eight-year old girl lost her life, just so that somebody could make a point about whatever it is they’re trying to say. Knowing that it happened at the site of a memorial to the victims of Newtown makes it that much harder to accept. But it seems we have no choice in the matter. What’s done is done, unfortunately.
With grief in my heart for the losses they have suffered, but thanks and respect for all they have done for us as Americans, I’m keeping Boston in my thoughts this evening. I hope that others will, too.