I sorted out my own story, my love for the city of Boston, for not only the Boston Marathon, but the entire running community, and my love for this beautiful nation. I started to write a few times, but didn't want to bore you with my own memories of waiting on Boylston Street, dashing across the Charles River in the rain or eating clam chowder on a cushy bar stool at what used to be called the Bull and Finch Pub.
I also didn't want to potentially bore you with non-fiction commentary that I personally find fascinating...the Battle of Bunker Hill was actually fought on Breed's Hill nearby; it took 86 years for the Red Sox to win the World Series after trading Babe Ruth to New York; or that the streets of Beantown were once flooded with 2.3 million gallons of molasses moving at 35 mph.
My son found the common theme in this nightmare before I did, and pointed it out without realizing how deeply his words struck me.
"A person reading about all of the details of the marathon bombing could literally drive themselves insane by focusing on the two guys behind all of the tragedy," he said. "OR, a person could have their faith restored in our country by focusing on all of the good people in the city who opened up their homes to strangers, all of the people who helped bring this to an end."
This country is full of virtue. As a general rule, honesty and goodness prevail. Hard work, dedication, spirit, drive, loyalty, and a strong sense of brotherhood are the first cultural traits that come to mind, and the list goes on from there.
In the spirit of helping those who were affected by the tragic events that occurred during the Boston Marathon, a day that will never be forgotten, Americans have come together in a multitude of ways to provide financial relief. The mayor of Boston and the governor of Massachusetts have created The One Fund, which can be found through the Boston Athletic Association link or by clicking here.
However, if you are looking for a way to help but lack the financial means to do so, don't worry. There is another way to help on an even grander scale. Here's how: Do not let the two men responsible for these horrific acts of terror define our nation or our people. It is a sad realization that two men could affect so many lives, so many traditions that we hold close to our hearts. But this is not who we are. We are a strong nation, we are unified, we are proud, and we are resilient.
We, as Americans, have a stereotype attached to us...outsiders looking in will say things like "they are deeply divided," "They are too busy for their families," "They are a selfish, 'instant gratification' society."
Don't get caught up in the media rhetoric. If you are feeling divided, make up your mind to become a part of the solution rather than exacerbating the problem. If you are feeling too busy for your family, decide to make time. And never overlook or take for granted the selfless acts of all those unnamed heroes who dedicate their lives to uphold the foundation our country is based upon.
Don't be the stereotype. Remember who we are as a nation, remember all that we stand for, and BE that American. That's the best way you can help.
The people of Boston have graced us all with tremendous examples of what that looks like.
Almost the Boston Clam Chowder from "Cheers"
2 onions, chopped
3 pounds red potatoes, diced
3 32-oz. cans clams with juice
1 T dried thyme
2 t dried oregano
1 T dried basil
1/2 cup chicken bouillon
1 T white pepper 6 sticks of butter (not kidding)
3 cups flour
4 cloves garlic
1/2 gallon whole milk (or if you've gotten over the 6 sticks of butter, you can use half and half)
Combine celery, onions, potatoes, clams, thyme, oregano, basil, bouillon, and pepper; cook 30-45 minutes until vegetables and potatoes are soft.
Melt butter and add flour and garlic, stir constantly until slightly brown. Combine with vegetable mixture and add milk. Stir well and cook for 10 minutes.