April 21, 2014
Last week all of the Sunday morning news shows reflected on last year’s Boston Marathon bombing. Meet the Press did an exceptional job of remembering and conveying how the city and the Bostonians responded with Boston Strong. Interviews with the Police Commissioner, government officials, first responders, participants in the Marathon, and media that were there were excellent and solemnly returned us to that day and the days following as the city was shut down until the terrorists were apprehended.
The networks portrayed how the incident brought people together and instilled a feeling of unity and support that became Boston Strong. Of particular note was the speech David Ortiz, Big Popi, the face of the Boston Red Sox, given at the first game after the bombing, conveying that this is Boston and we stand strong despite what harm others may bring or try to bring to us. Across the nation other cities, even the Boston rivals, demonstrated their support for the city and its people. Boston stood proud and was relentless in their pursuit of the terrorists. They showed what they are made of. Even their noted baseball team carried the banner for the city, and despite probably not having the greatest talent, their team work, their determination, their being Boston Strong carried them to the World Championship. The stories of valor, helping others and support were inspiring and stirred the Proud to be an American genes in me.
This gathering of strength when faced with adversity is not unique to Boston. 9/11, Pearl Harbor and the Atlanta Olympic bombing, as well as other dark episodes in our Nation’s history conveyed that this is an American thing. We are America Strong.
One of the most powerful images of 9/11 was seeing all the members of Congress on the steps of the Capitol holding hands and singing in support of US. Very powerful indeed, considering the lack of cooperation that often highlights Congressional efforts. They stood together to prove to the world that we were not broken. We are America Strong.
One of the most inspiring stories of December 7, 1941, was the story of Bob Feller, Hall of Fame pitcher for the Cleveland Indians, who was in his early 20’s on that date. Feller was driving from his home in Iowa back to Cleveland when he heard on the radio about the bombing. Instead of continuing his trip, he turned around and went back to his home town and enlisted in the Navy the next day. Baseball and his career could wait, America could not.
I was in Atlanta in 1996 when the Olympic bombing occurred. In fact, my family and I had arrived late that afternoon, looking forward to a week of Olympic festivities. We had tickets to Track and Field the next day. With very few details as to what had actually happened, there was a feeling of concern and apprehension as we approached downtown Atlanta on that Saturday. Hoping that this act, this bombing would not deter the American Spirit and that throngs of people would turn out to the events. I was impressed, no I was proud that despite of the uncertainty, the city and venues were packed, lines to get into the Olympic Stadium were long, and yes security was tight, but it proved to me that America was strong and that we will always unite when faced with jeopardy.
Despite our differences, despite our various political views, despite various and ethnic ideologies, we as Americans will stand together when our way of life is threatened. We are America Strong.