If prior to today, I was aware of Patriots’ Day then I must have blocked it from my mind. However, the moment I mentioned to my husband that Patriots’ Day is on April 19, he immediately said that was the date of the Oklahoma City Bombing, eighteen years ago. He was in Turkey on TDY, I was in Colorado feeling very anxious for his safety until it was determined that it was an act of home-grown not foreign-born terrorism. Of course, words can’t even describe how we both felt when Columbine occurred just a few years later. We had small children by then, and Columbine was not far from my husband’s childhood home. It was too real.
You would think that the middle of April would stand out in my mind for something other than taxes, but honestly I just don’t remember from year to year how our worlds were shaken in April. Unlike 9/11, the date just never stuck, at least not for me. While my world had been rocked, it hadn’t been disrupted like in 2001.
But now the Patriots’ Day will be stuck in my mind, and not as a day celebrating a crusade for independence. For the longest time the Boston Marathon had been a dream of my mom’s. Every year when it was held, especially in the years since she passed away, I would smile and remember the summers in the late-70s when she logged hundreds of miles preparing for qualifier races. She eventually made it to New York and we ran that race together, but life got in the way of Boston.
It is strange how the mind deals with tragic events, sometimes keeping the moments clear and focused , while other times blurring the details and dates. Yet, in either case, when a new tragedy occurs the emotions come flooding to the surface, overwhelming the senses.
Patriots’ Day will no longer just be a day on the calendar, and the Boston Marathon will no longer just be a race. It is my prayer that our nation will rise again and take back our day – refuse to surrender it to those wishing to bring us down.
It is also my prayer that all those who have been directly affected by the tragedies, past and present, will find peace and feel the support of their nation behind them.