The events of the past week in Boston have no doubt shown the best and the worst of human beings.
As a native New Englander, the images of the Boston Marathon bombing broke my heart. Memories of trips to that great city with family rushed back into my mind, while watching the first horrific images come into the newsroom.
I remember going to my first Red Sox game and sitting in the bleachers with my parents on probably the hottest day in recorded history. Okay, that’s obviously an exaggeration, but I was about 5-years-old and getting an ice cream bar and playing with beach balls in the bleachers was the greatest thing that had ever happened in my life to that point.
Anyway, I have walked those streets where the blasts happened many times. Immediately, I called home to make sure everyone I knew was okay. Fortunately, no one I knew was in Boston that day. However, many were not as fortunate as my family.
There was an incredible display of valor as first responders ran into the crowds of wounded, all the while knowing that there could be more bombs nearby. Race participants, who had just run 26.2 miles, continued running to local hospitals to donate blood.
It’s no coincidence that those quick actions and selfless acts helped save many lives that day.
It showed what the people of Boston are made of. It showed what we as Americans are made of. We look out for each other. We help each other in times of need.
The following days solidified this as support from around the country poured in. While sports are merely entertainment at its core, teams and leagues stood with Boston in their time of need.
I don’t often say positive things about the Yankees, but seeing them play “Sweet Caroline” at Yankee Stadium was the epitome of class. Not to mention, their fans standing and shouting the lyrics as well as the “bah bah bah” when appropriate. Well done.
Obviously, they weren’t the only team or organization to reach out and show support, but they may be the best example.
For the past few days, I’ve sat at my desk or on my couch glued to the coverage. I wanted both of the suspects taken alive so that we could – at minimum – try to find out what possessed them to carry out these cowardly acts.
I’d list the number of questions running through my mind, but I’m sure you have the same ones.
When I awoke Friday morning, an alert on my phone informed me that one of the two suspects had been killed in a shootout with police in a suburb of Boston. Part of me was happy that at least some form of justice had been served to one of the two individuals. The other part of me was saddened to know that we will likely never know his motive.
As the day wore on, Boston and Watertown were completely shut down. Police were certain they had the second suspect cornered and were going door-to-door to find him. All I kept hoping was that they would take him into custody alive and with no further loss of life to civilians or the fine men and women who help keep us safe every day.
My wife and I along with two friends attended the Atlanta Braves/Pittsburgh Pirates game that night when word broke that they had found the suspect hiding in a boat in a residential neighborhood.
I honestly could not tell you much about the game as I was glued to my phone for updates from friends and family while constantly refreshing Twitter. The only thing I really remember about the game were two ducks that had made their way onto the field.
They started in right field and waddled their way to the left field bleachers. Players from both teams just stood there looking perplexed. The ducks finally made their great escape when four giant pierogies went for their traditional run around the warning track.
Soon after, the news broke that police had indeed captured the suspect alive. I cannot even express how happy I was at this news. Within minutes, word spread around the stadium, which erupted into several “USA! USA!” chants.
It was an incredible moment, but it’s a moment that shows no matter what, we have each other’s back at all times.
Yesterday, the Penguins and Bruins simply played a hockey game. The opening ceremony was as emotional as one would expect.
For the second straight home game, Boston’s National Anthem regular, Rene Rancourt, sang the opening lines and then lowered the microphone to sing with the crowd. It was a moment that sent chills through me.
Bostonians came together and belted out the National Anthem to show their unity in the wake of this awful tragedy.
It may have just been the first step on a long road to recovery, but it was a big step nonetheless.
Throughout the week, I’ve been battling a sense of helplessness. Seeing the city rally around the Bruins and Red Sox yesterday reaffirmed what I already knew about its people.
Sure, the bombings may have shaken the city, but it surely didn’t defeat it. Instead, the city banded together to send a message that if you mess with one of us, you mess with all of us.
May the families of all those affected find strength and comfort in knowing that their loved ones will never be forgotten and that justice will be served.
If you would like to donate to The One Fund, which benefits those affected by this tragedy you can do so here: http://onefundboston.org/
You can follow me on Twitter at http://twitter.com/sheavedice