Remembering the heroes

I slipped home earlier this week to grab a bite of lunch and as I nibbled on my sandwich, I flipped through the channels on the television.

Landing on an old favorite soap opera that I rarely get to see, I settled into my chair for some high drama. Of course, some would say that I could go for years without seeing the program and still be able to jump right into the story without missing much. To a certain extent, that’s true, I guess. The characters all seem to be the same, event the old standbys.

But this day was a little different because the show was preempted by a special news broadcast. OK, I have to admit at first I was a little peeved at them interrupting my viewing time. But that aggravation melted away quickly when I saw what was happening.

It was a rainy scene in Boston with crowds gathered on either side of a street. The cameras cut to the arrival of Vice President Joe Biden, Gov. Duval Patrick and other dignitaries. They walked slowly towards the still visibile finish line for the 2013 Boston Marathon. Standing beside those people were the families of the victims who died in that horrific incident last year. The families of Martin Richard, Krystle Campbell and Lingzi Lu – gathered under umbrellas at the finish line.

Irish tenor Ronan Tynan performed “God Bless America” before the moment of silence at 2:49 p.m., the time the first bomb exploded. His beautiful, clear tenor voice soared through the air and I felt great pangs of patriotism and tears welled up as I listened. The Old South Church bells tolled. An American flag was unfolded and hoisted up the flag pole by a police officer and a transit authority officer. The national anthem was sung and bagpipes played as the crowd huddled in the rain. It was truly a beautiful and emotional sight.

I think it’s important to remember the heroes from that day. Those who rushed forward in spite of the danger to provide care and aid to the fallen. The runners who raced right to emergency rooms to donate blood. The nurses, doctors and EMTs who worked round the clock to treat and save the many injured runners and bystanders. Remembering those actions helps remind us of what a great nation this is – resilient, generous and courageous.

I was glad to record numbers of runners from many places around the world who signed up to run in this year’s marathon. It just goes to show that not only is Boston strong – so is America.