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Boston Strong Carries On

It’s kind of amazing that no one had ever thought of the motto ‘Boston Strong’ before the tragedy at the Boston Marathon last April.

Although, I guess the words never really needed to be said. There was no slogan necessary to let the world know what our city is all about…what it stands for. Everybody already knew that Boston was just that kind of town.

We all saw it firsthand last April. When bombs killed three and injured over 250 others, and when those same senseless thugs allegedly took the life of MIT police officer Sean Collier, Boston and New England came together. Like we always do.

Edward Walsh (left) and Michael Kennedy (right) made the ultimate sacrifice.

Edward Walsh (left) and Michael Kennedy (right) made the ultimate sacrifice.

So when a raging, windswept, nine-alarm fire wreaked havoc on the Back Bay on Wednesday, taking the lives of two firefighters, two heroes – Lieutenant Edward J. Walsh and firefighter Michael R. Kennedy – and injuring 13 others, it was not a surprise to see the city rally around each other.

Boston Police and EMS standing side-by-side with their brothers of the Boston Fire Department rushing injured firefighters to awaiting ambulances. The doctors and nurses at the nearby hospitals at the ready. Neighbors providing food and shelter for those displaced by the blaze. Others visiting the Engine 33/Ladder 15 firehouse on Boylston Street leaving flowers and hot meals for the grieving firefighters. Colleges setting up donations for the victims’ families. Radio stations doing the same. The Bruins wearing BFD hats during warmups before their game against Chicago.

These are just a few examples of the way Boston came together once again in the face of yet another tragedy. All of its people and all of its most important institutions step up to the plate  – as one – when the going gets tough. And, unfortunately, things have been tough far too often of late.

Saying that the last year has been harrowing for Boston would be an understatement. Tragedy has struck too many times. But the city has shown that there is little that will slow it down. Each time something devastating happens, Boston comes back stronger than ever.

It must be said that no one is suggesting that this kind of camaraderie and resilience wouldn’t happen in other cities around the country. I’m sure it would. But there is something different about Boston. It’s that small-town feel in the big city.

For a city of over 600,000 people, it sure feels a lot more close-nit. And that’s because it is.

Visitors drop off food to the Boylston Street firehouse. (Boston Globe photo)

Walking for a few minutes can take you from one end of the city to another. Southie, the North End, West Roxbury, Back Bay, Beacon Hill, Downtown, Fenway, and Causeway Street kind of all feel like the same place.

When something happens, you know exactly where it is. You’ve walked past it before, you’ve seen the people that live and work there. You can relate.

That sense of togetherness is what so many felt last April and what so many feel again today.

In good times and in bad, those feelings will never change.

Boston will never change. It will always be Boston Strong.

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