I have no interest in watching the memorials in Boston today. I don’t want to read the retrospectives in the papers. And most importantly, I don’t want to see the pictures and videos from the afternoon of April 15, 2013. As a nightly news producer, these are tough demands. Right now, there are no fewer than six television monitors in my peripheral vision showing these very images. I am sure I will have to show them tonight.
A few months back, a friend and fellow Boston Marathon runner sent me an advance copy of a book by the first newspaper reporters to arrive at the scene of the blasts. When I got word it was in the mail, I looked forward to reading it. I’m sure it’s a fantastic book by two excellent journalists. But, once I saw the cover with its billowing smoke and panicked faces juxtaposed against the backdrop of one of my favorite sites in the world, I knew I didn't want to go any further. Not now.
I’m not saying that retrospect and reflection are not valid coping methods. They just are not mine. The truth is, for the past year, I have thought very little about the 117th running of the Boston marathon instead focusing as much as possible on the 118th running. For me, the only way to cope with what happened last year is to move forward. I loathe that you can’t mention the Boston Marathon without mentioning the words “terror”, “bombs” or “murder” in close proximity. I detest that the actions of two young punks have come to define this day.
We can’t forget what happened. We can’t forget the lives that were lost or the lives that were ruined. But, we can reclaim the Boston Marathon. What has the Boston Marathon been about since 1897? It’s been about the power of the human body and the triumph of the human spirit. That’s what we will be celebrating Monday when one million people fearlessly line the streets from Hopkinton to Boston to cheer on 36,000 runners who aren’t afraid of the pain produced by running 26.2 miles in one stretch. Crossing the finish line that day will end a painful chapter in what has for the last 118 years been a beautiful story.