In Boston, I watched the emotional running of the 118th Boston Marathon. Following the awful events of last year that drew this city and the country together behind the slogan “Boston Strong,” an American won the men’s race for the first time since 1983 — and he was a Californian. Meb Keflezighi from San Diego set off wild chants of “USA, USA” along the route and the playing of the national anthem when he received his trophy.
Enthusiastic large crowds cheered long after the elite runners had passed. The Boston Strong slogan was on t-shirts all over the city on runners and spectators alike.
The excitement and determination around town was palpable. Remember the seagulls in the animated movie, “Finding Nemo” who machine gun like repeated “mine, mine, mine, mine” in trying to grab their prey? Bostonians were seemingly chanting “ours, ours, ours, ours,” about the marathon — taking it back from the terrorists’ desire to create havoc and fear. The attitude often repeated over the weekend was to “take back the finish line.”
There was plenty of security. A mile from the finish police officers were lined up every ten yards on both sides of the street. Huge dump trucks blocked access to many side streets. The lead runners were surrounded by motorcycle cops and followed large black SUVs filled with uniformed officers.
This event has grown to a mammoth size, but after last year’s terrorist attack, it has become a symbol of both the community and country’s strength and ability to rebound. As a native of the town and as a veteran of a number of Boston Marathons many years ago it was heartwarming to see the athletes and citizens rally around the traditional event.
And as a Californian now, it was great to cheer on a fellow Californian to a deeply meaningful victory.