Pray for Boston

prayforboston For those of you who have never lived in the New England area, Patriots’ Day is one of the most exciting days in the city of Boston. Since 1969, it has been a civic holiday commemorating the anniversary of the Battles of Lexington and Concord on April 19th, 1775. These were the first battles of the American Revolutionary War, and were preluded by Paul Revere’s famous ride to alert Samuel Adams and John Hancock that “the British are coming!” The Boston Marathon itself has always held a personal connection to me. In 1985, my parents met at Boston University while they were attending dental school. They both had a passion for running long distance, and would often go on long runs along the Charles River and the neighboring suburbs. They continued to train together and eventually ran three Boston Marathons together. The wear and tear they put on their bodies over the years forced them into retirement, but they still run when they’re able. A few years ago, my mom decided she wanted to become a certified EMT, and for the past three Boston Marathons, she has volunteered in the medical tents tending to dehydrated and cramped runners. This year, however, she was not able to volunteer because she had a previous commitment. Everything happens for a reason. Another reason why I loved this day so much growing up is that it meant NO SCHOOL! It would also mean a three-day long weekend to spend at home with my family, or to go to the local park with friends to play baseball. At this time of the year, depending on how severe our winter season (you really never know what you’re going to get in the Northeast), the snow would be almost completely melted and the outfield grass soft as ever. The birds would be chirping, and the sun would shine longer during the day. It would officially be the start of baseball season! Whether I’m sitting in the grandstands or watching NESN on my television, witnessing the Patriots’ Day festivities at Fenway Pahk is a thrill. First pitch is always scheduled for 11 AM with the idea that once the game’s final out is made, thousands of Red Sox fans would make their way down Boylston Street to cheer marathon runners on as they near the finish line. Before the game, players and fans sing the National Anthem side by side with war heroes and Boston politicians, as a giant American flag is draped down covering the entire Green Monstah and fighter jets fly overhead. Yesterday, the Sox took the field against the Tampa Bay Rays with a 7-4 record and in first place of the AL East. Newcomer Ryan Dempster punched out 10 over 7 innings and left the game with a 2-1 lead.  The Sox bullpen blew the lead in the top half of 9th (go figure…), only to win the game 3-2 in the bottom of the 9th on a walk-off double off the wall by Mike Napoli! Fans were cheering at the top of their lungs, I was sitting in the Pittsburgh airport fist pumping and inappropriately yelling “Hell yea!” at the gate as fellow passengers gave me dirty looks of curiosity wondering why I was so excited! Patriots’ Day 2013 was off to the best start imaginable! At 2:50 PM, I was on a US Airways flight headed for Philadelphia. I did not know what had happened back home, nor could I ever predicted something so horrific to take place. When I turned my phone back on upon landing, my phone started blowing up with text messages and voicemails. Most were from fraternity brothers across the country asking me if I was ok because they did not know if I was home, at the Central Office in Nashville, or still on the road. I replied saying I was fine, but my initial thought was that I need to check on my family and friends that I knew were at the race. My best friend from high school was standing along the marathon route in Copley Square about 100 yards from the second explosion. He described it similar to that of an earthquake, and the smoke that immediately flailed upward reminded him of the muskets shot off after the New England Patriots score a touchdown. Within seconds, hundreds of people were running full speed toward him, screaming “Get outta the way, we gotta get outta heaaa!” He rushed to safety, but was in complete shock of the entire experience. I felt terrible for him, but I feel even more terrible for the thousands of families who were affected by this tragedy. messedwithboston As President Obama said, “Boston is a tough, resilient town, and so are its people.” On a day that life was lost and hundreds were injured, heroism, love, and hope overshadowed the horror. Pictures covering the internet show complete strangers lending a helping hand to injured spectators and runners. The love and support my city has received in the aftermath of this tragedy is truly amazing. Moments of silence across the sports world took place, players last night wrote ‘Pray for Boston’ on their baseball mitts, basketball shoes, and hockey skates, and hundreds of relief funds have been created to assist in the efforts. Yesterday’s tragedy reminds me that each and every day is a gift. I hope you all have a wonderful day, and that you keep the city of Boston and the families affected in your thoughts and prayers. YITB, Justin M. Zolot, Pi ’12 Alpha Visitor Chi Psi Fraternity


2 responses to “Pray for Boston

  1. Pingback: What I’m thankful for – Justin Zolot | Updates from the Road·

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