For those who have spent the last four years reading my columns, my views on running are pretty well documented. It’s a useful activity when being chased by a ravenous, large carnivorous animal, but I’ve never really seen its practicality at any other moment.
For anyone who has stood behind me in the pizza buffet line, this, too, should not come as a surprise.
It is, therefore, with some embarrassment that I must confess I was oblivious to the fact that the Boston Marathon was taking place this past Monday. I wish I could still say that was the case.
Like many people, much of my afternoon and evening on Monday were spent watching television and Internet broadcasts in an attempt to stay abreast of the latest developments out of Boston. It was also spent hammering out a few hasty emails and Facebook messages in an effort to make sure friends who may have been participating in this year’s marathon were safely accounted for.
As an article elsewhere in today’s paper shows, the ripple effects from tragedies such as this touch every corner of America, even thousands of miles away from Beantown, here in Park County.
I won’t speculate on the perpetrator of this act of terror. Nor will I posit a possible line of rationale for the behavior. There simply is no valid logic which justifies the indiscriminate killing of an innocent 8-year-old.
Tragedies like this slap us across the face with what’s wrong on this planet, but they also have a way of bringing out the best of what our nation has to offer. In the moments after explosions rocked the finish line, a wave of individuals could be seen on video running, not from, but to the site of the event. Many were law enforcement and medical personnel in the area. Some of those seen, however, were competitors who had just finished running 26.2 miles and were now reversing course to run some more and check on the well-being of those whom they had just spent hours running alongside.
We’ve seen videos of hundreds of people turning out for vigils across the nation. We’ve even seen Yankees fans extend a gesture of support to their Boston brethren.
In an era of extreme political divisiveness and polarity in the nation, if there can ever be a silver lining to a tragedy such as this, perhaps it comes from the reminder it can offer that, regardless of our individual leanings and beliefs, we remain one nation, united. It provides us a moment not to emphasize our differences in one another, but to find solace in that which makes us similar.
The challenge, of course, is holding on to those feelings as we move further and further in time from the momentary shock created by this heinous act. Clinging tight to our commonality can go a long way toward healing this country.
In that regard, the real Boston Marathon is just beginning. And we’re all runners.