By The Gatepost Editorial Board
On Monday April 17, known in Massachusetts as Patriots’ Day, crowds filled the streets of downtown Framingham to cheer on people from around the world as they ran their sixth mile in the 26.2 mile race to Boston.
Despite rain, community members from Framingham and beyond gathered on the sidewalks of Waverly Street - wearing ponchos and energetically wielding umbrellas - as they passed out Gatorade and water.
Only about 1.8 miles from Framingham State University, the Boston Marathon passed through Framingham for the tenth time since the finish line was bombed during a domestic terrorist attack in 2013.
Ten years ago, the people of New England and the United States were left feeling shock and terror when they learned three people died, and approximately 281 people were injured due to this devastating attack.
Current members of The Gatepost were only 11, 12, and 13 years old at the time, but we vividly remember the fear that overcame our families as the Federal Bureau of Investigation searched for the bomber. We also remember the sadness and uncertainty that fell across our communities as we mourned the loss of the victims.
For a moment, a beloved New England tradition was tarnished.
However, a sense of pride and commitment to community felt by people across New England prevailed.
As people gathered to support and rebuild Boston, what became evident is that we are resilient.
The people of Boston and its surrounding communities did not submit to or give into the terror the two bombers hoped to instill in us.
Despite the tragedy, the marathon remains a respected, much-loved, and well-attended tradition.
After the marathon bombing, new security measures were implemented to increase the safety along the route. However, this does not dampen the spirit or overall happy atmosphere of the event.
While mandatory bag checks at stops on the commuter rail and increased police presence cause long hold ups for people coming in to watch the race, it isn’t enough to drive them away.
This year, almost 30,000 athletes registered to participate in the marathon, according to the Boston Marathon website.
One of these runners was Henry Richard, the brother of 8 year old Martin Richard, who was killed at the finish line in 2013. He led a group MR8 runners, an organization founded in his brother’s name.
In addition, several Framingham State students and alumni also participated in the marathon.
The Boston Marathon continues to uplift spirits and bring the community together year after year as people break their own personal records and push the human body to its limits, and people run to support charitable organizations.
To answer a question asked in the April 19, 2013 Gatepost editorial published only a few days after the tragedy struck - “Can we ever feel safe joining our fellow Bostonians in this beloved, time-honored tradition again?”
The answer is yes.
Ten years later, athletes are more dedicated to preparing for and running this race than ever.
People are more excited to watch this prestigious race and cheer on and support runners every year. They wake up bright and early to crowd the streets before they close. They dress up in costumes and patriotic clothing. And they create signs with clever sayings encouraging athletes to make it to the finish line.
We will never forget the tragedy of the Boston Marathon bombing in 2013.
But just as we did in 2013, we will never allow this to prevent us from celebrating Patriots’ Day the best way we know how.
We will never allow this tragedy to define the Boston Marathon.
We will always be Boston strong.