I only lived in Massachusetts for less than a year and experienced Patriot's Day 2012 as an outsider and a newcomer, having moved up there less than a month before. As a native Floridian, I was mainly glad to see the weather getting warmer and thinking the parties and festivities were fun, but not really getting it. I mean, I hadn't even been to Fenway at that point (later remedied), which I'm pretty sure is a mandatory requirement before making any comments about Boston culture.
Anyway, someone emailed this blog post to me, written by a Boston resident I've never met, but who sums up perfectly how all my Massachusetts friends describe Patriot's Day. It's definitely worth reading in its entirety, but I'll share a few excerpts here:
If you have never lived in Boston, it’s hard to explain what Marathon Monday (or Patriots’ Day, as its known there) is, exactly. While the rest of the country reports for another Monday at work, or frantically tries to get their taxes in under the wire, Massachusetts shuts down. Schools close. If you’re a college-aged kid, you wake up early (really early) and chug a few beers and load up backpacks and head to a pre-determined place to meet up with your friends and chug more beers and cheer on the runners. If you’re little, you wake up and get dressed in your best Boston gear (I always wore a blue Red Sox t-shirt with the old logo on it) and your parents pack you in the car and you go to a friend’s house. There’s always a barbecue. You watch the runners on the TV, everyone huddled around the living room, the kids sitting on the floor. When the Red Sox come on (the Red Sox ALWAYS have a day game on Patriots’ Day) some gruff old guy at the party makes a hubbub and then you have to turn it over to catch the first pitch.
The day always seems to fall on the first day of real spring in Boston, the day you finally go digging in your closet and find that pair of shorts that have been jammed in there, getting wrinkled since October. In the other cities I’ve lived in I cannot find a comparison. Patriots’ Day, to Boston at least, isn’t like Presidents’ Day or some other holiday you get to stay home and catch up on housecleaning. If you put a gun to my head I’d say it’s most like a secular Easter. But if you combine it with St. Patrick’s Day, it’s also our Mardi Gras...
It was interesting to see what we all turned to in the moments after the bomb. Some of us instinctively turned to God. The amount of prayers I saw, both in footage of Boston and online, was staggering. Many of us turned to the new deity in our lives, technology, as we frantically tweeted out Google databases to connect with stranded runners, or find missing people. It was sweet, and sad–when we felt at our most helpless, we turned to Google to help. The strange thing was that these Google docs made me feel better...
Patriots’ Day is a day for Boston. As little as 24 hours ago, it was a day that was impossible to explain, impossible to know what it meant if you didn't live there. It was a special day. Now, after two explosions went off that killed 3 and injured over 140, Patriots’ Day will mean something else to the people of Massachusetts, my home. It will mean something, I’m afraid, too many of us will be able to understand.
Also, my friend Josh Gillespie shared this photo on Facebook, from Yankees Stadium:
Classy move by NYC, a city that understands Boston's pain all too well.
God bless the people of Boston.
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