This morning’s Wall Street Journal quotes Dr. Paul Thompson, a 29 time finisher of the Boston Marathon, who, in lamenting that the race never will be the same again, observed that the event will be less fun and “less of a party,” forevermore. No one can question his judgment that the events of yesterday were terrible and will dwell in the collective memory of runners and Bostonians for some time to come. Nor can one question his right to weigh in, given Dr. Thompson’s perspective as a participant and as a physician who’s no doubt seen a lot of horrible human physical conditions.
Still, don’t Boston’s citizens get to decide whether to celebrate Patriot’s Day in the atmosphere of triumph over adversity that it has observed for more than a century of the running of this race? Wouldn’t a valid response be for 30 thousand Americans to turn out as participants next April on Boston’s streets?
I seem to recall that Bostonians turned out more than 200 years ago to say “no” to the actions of persons who sought to keep colonials in their proper political place. The American spirit is to celebrate, publicly, the heroics of citizens who respond to adversity with their best physical and mental efforts. We threw off the oppression of fear and uncertainty in the 18th Century. Our resolve should be just as stern here. Of course some caution in the future of the Marathon is merited; but we need not knuckle under to a generalized fear of what is possible. Buckle down, Massachusetts. We’re behind you.