Op-Ed: Elevation

“The only thing that floats a heavy heart after an unspeakable act are the stories of heroism & unity. Keep rising to the moment Boston.”

For a concentrated few, the unfathomable acts that consumed a city Monday will leave a permanent residue.

Loved ones lost; limbs lost.

Life diverted to an uphill path not previously conceivable.

But choosing, choosing, to take a step back and inventory not only the horror, but the reactive heroism, you have to see the folly that a cowardly act like this is.

Boston Marathon Day, Patriot’s Day, in Boston is a day of reveling in community.

Community of the family, community of a city. On the surface, it appears a good target logistically and emotionally to strike. Hit a people when their guard is down, when their loved ones are near and in tow. When they’re outside any protective or containment structure and in a moment of what should be jubilation.

It seems a logical plausible selection. But it’s also an act of someone who really doesn’t understand community and the power of bringing people together.

Sport, local sport, is one of the oldest fabrics of a community.

It’s the centerpoint of commonality. A means of everyone within some geographic interdependent bond identifying with one another.

In times past, it was a singular guaranteed gathering once a week or month or over some time period. Heck, go to Ireland today and see the droves of citizens that come out for an all-day, no alcohol consumption allowed, stiff-bleachered accommodation “Counties” competition on a given Sunday.

In the present day, it, at minimum, envelops the white space with someone near you who would otherwise remain foreign. “Cold out there today, huh?” “Yeah.” “How ’bout them Giants, them Red Sox last night?” “Tough one.”

And the Marathon–in Boston, through history–is a fabric beyond burlap–the common mythology of the event being the swift soldier Pheidippides sent from the battlefield of Marathon to deliver and proclaim “Niki!” (“Victory!”) in the capital of Athens before collapsing to his death. Victory by the (hometown) Greeks over the Persions. The event itself–the “marathon”–commemorating the sequence of events.

The effort of one becoming the sacrifice of one for the elevation of the community. It’s the final event every four years at the Olympics for a reason.

Monday some actor, working alone or on behalf of some warped cause, sought to prick at the tranquility and communality of people gathered to celebrate and compete, thinking insecurity and fear would pierce and tear that fabric.

Someone forsaken by the community or perhaps driven to conspire with zealots. Think about that, someone whose philosophy of community  was “inspired” through the hatred of the very definition of it.

And the people, with a magnitude as great as the mythology and momentousness of the event itself, elevated itself through the sacrifice of a few.

8 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Linda Sheridan on 2013/04/16 at 12:02 PM

    Godspeed to all to heal mind, body, & soul. There is way more good than evil.


  2. I love the verse of scripture that says “overcome evil with good.”
    Thanks for the insights. They are both encouraging and true.


  3. Posted by dude on 2013/04/16 at 4:40 PM

    There’s nothing logical about what those people did, assuming it was a group. The desire to hurt people just for being in a group is the product of a sick, deranged mind. These people just want to maim and kill the innocent, there is no logic, and whatever reason they might have had is as too warped to even be considered reason.

    I understand and applaud your sentiment, but use of the word “logic” here is a little twisted.


  4. As a former Bostonian and a former marathoner, I deeply appreciate what you’ve said here. Thanks and kudos!


  5. Posted by amh on 2013/04/17 at 6:26 AM

    thanks very much for taking the time to put together those words.


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