A commitment to rise to the occasion, to endure what must be endured, to remember all who suffered and lost their lives in times of strife, is written into the fabric of the city. From the Bunker Hill Monument to the Tea Party ships, Bostonians are confronted with the stoicism of those who came before them. Monday’s assault on the city’s greatest shared ritual, the Boston Marathon, will remain in the city’s memory forever. And just as the vibrant city surrounding the site of the Boston Massacre is the ultimate tribute to the Revolutionary generation, a renewed embrace of the fellowship inherent in the global marathon will be Boston’s way of honoring those who were killed or injured on April 15, 2013.More takes on yesterday's tragedy below the fold.
The fact that the Marathon takes place on Patriots Day may or may not have been a factor in the attack; it is, absolutely, a part of what makes the event unique, a celebration of both nature and history, the coming of spring and the region’s connection to the Revolutionary War. More than 20,000 athletes compete in the race. Unlike at most major sporting events, the spectators who line the 26.2 miles of the Marathon course are not just cheering elite athletes; they’re cheering on friends and family members. Monday’s weather — sunny, and in the 50s — was spectacular for running, and for winter-weary Bostonians it was an invitation to go outside. [...]
In targeting the Marathon, an attacker or group of attackers came face to face with the city’s resilient spirit. People around the world got to see it, as well. Such qualities and commitments as were on display on Boylston Street are immutable; in confronting the worst of human nature, Boston will, as it did on Monday, strive to live up to the best.
More local reaction from The Boston Globe's writers, starting with Scot Lehigh, who says it was a tough blow on an even tougher town:
[L]ife here will go on. We won’t be paralyzed by fear.Derrick Jackson:
We’ll take reasonable precautions, yes.
But we won’t take cover.
And we won’t cower.
This, after all, is Boston.
I never thought about it until the explosions on Boylston Street, but the Marathon is also a symbol of trust. In no other situation would you accept from the bare hands of a stranger a slice of an orange, loose M&Ms, gummy bears, strawberries, even cups of beer. Whether the berries were ever washed or not, whether the hands were clean or not, I didn’t know or ask. Similarly, in no other situation would spectators even touch — let alone accept hugs from — sweaty, smelly, salty people. Let that bond between strangers not be broken.Farah Stockman:
We can be vigilant. We can be smart. But we can’t bring the risk of a terrorist attack down to zero. We’d have to give up too much to do that. We’d have to become a police state. And even that would not be enough. If we are willing to die in wars to protect our freedom, we must be willing to die right here in Boston. It was surreal to see half the city conducting business as usual. But there was something inspiring and stubborn about it. Tomorrow, this city is going to get up and live its life. We are not going to let anyone stop us.Joe Battenfeld at The Boston Herald writes about how politics is put on hold:
The grim look on Gov. Deval Patrick’s face as he stepped out of an elevator into a darkened State House hallway outside his office said more than any official statement he could utter.The New York Times gives its take on the tragedy:
Patrick, who had been at the finish line of the Boston Marathon just hours before two explosions ripped through spectators and changed the city forever, was rushing to his office to answer a call from President Obama that no elected leader — Democrat or Republican — likes to take.
The governor removed his baseball cap and, at that moment, was no longer a politician but an elected leader still trying to make sense of a horrific tragedy.
The simple joy of a 26.2-mile run was shattered on Monday. But the marathon will be back next year, no matter how much security is required, and the crowds should yell twice as loudly. No act of terrorism is strong enough to shatter a tradition that belongs to American history.The Washington Post's E.J. Dionne on the defiling of Patriots Day:
[W]e have no idea who did this. So we don’t know how the significance of this day factored into the decision to commit an act of terror. But it is a horrible defilement of a date treasured by the whole nation, and especially by those of us who have known its joys very personally.The Denver Post's editors:
We can't reflect on the despicable attack on innocent people in Boston without at least some reference to our own community's horror last year at an Aurora theater — another venue of seeming innocence turned into a living hell. And yet as raw as the scars from that massacre remain, it's worth noting that Americans haven't been intimidated from going to movies as a result, any more than they will cease participating in the sports they love because of what happened Monday.Finally, thoughts on the Bostonian fighting spirit from David Callaway, editor in chief of USA Today, who used to work as a reporter in Boston:
Such attacks may shock us to the core because of their mindless cruelty, but our society — resilient and fundamentally stable — ultimately shakes them off and moves on.
Bostonians won't take this on the chin. Like New Yorkers more than a decade ago, they'll rise up stronger and thumb their nose at those who would attack our freedom. Boston was devastated by its role in 9/11, where some of the terrorists boarded the ill-fated planes at Logan Airport. Like all of us, it wondered what more could be done. Now new horrors have directly impacted this city.
The president has spoken to the nation, urging resolve and carrying a sense of calm. Precautions are being taken, especially in other East Coast cities. But when the shock of the explosions wears off, Boston will be ready for a fight. A fight to rebuild, to recast, to recreate what makes it great. In that sense, it still represents the American spirit now as it did two centuries ago.